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Kategorien: Medicinal Chemistry >> Natural Products, Toxicology

Mind-altering & Poisonous Plants of the World

Michael Wink, Ben-Erik van Wyk

Gebunden, 464 Seiten
1. Auflage, 2008
ISBN: 978-3-8047-2424-8
Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft


A bird’s eye view of all the famous and well-known poisonous and mind-altering plants of the world. The book is presented as a compact, colourful and scientifically accurate reference text. It covers more than 1200 of the most important plants that people are likely to be exposed to. More than 200 of the most important poisonous and mind-altering plants are treated in depth in short monographs, covering their diagnostic characters, region of origin and distribution, active ingredients, toxicity, symptoms of intoxication and possible modes of action. Each monograph provides information on first aid treatment. The compact format and encyclopedic style will be useful to rapidly access information on poisonous plants.


For those who expect the book “Mind-altering & Poisonous Plants of the World” to be a field guide, the actual Table of Contents will be a surprise in that the authors’ presentations cover a number of facets; thus, the term “poisons” is defined, the function of plant toxins is described, and even first-aid measures have been included. In the middle portion of the book, the reader will find an extensive range of monographs on individual plants, each of which is accompanied by brief descriptions and excellent photographs. Each plant is described in terms of its characteristics, with terse and pithy explanations provided regarding its occurrence, the toxins contained, and its use in traditional medicine, toxicity and symptoms. Naturally, the book’s target readership is pharmaceutical professionals and physicians, so that a basic medicinal vocabulary is necessary to understand the text in all of its detail. The authors are to be commended for the glossary at the end of the book, so that recourse to a technical dictionary is seldom necessary.

In the subsequent articles, molecular mechanisms of action are illustrated through highly schematic figures. Examples of the most important molecular targets of toxins are given here in a brief, precise and interesting manner. However, the real surprise of this book is the detailed discussion of secondary plant components, which are loosely organized into families. For selected active substances, the reader finds the structural formula, the plants in which they occur, and information on symptoms, toxicity, mechanisms of action, use and first-aid. Even where the structural formulas have been drawn hastily, in some cases bereft of stereodescriptors, the chapter still adds to the book, which as a whole is recommended for all chemists who have an interest in the toxins found in Nature. In addition, "Mind-altering & Poisonous Plants of the World" is recommended to anyone who is interested in poisonous plants and their components. The extensive illustrations and cogent explanations make this book a good reference work for natural scientists, and a particularly good textbook for pharmaceutical professionals and students who are interested in toxicology.