- periodic Methods File posting (FAQ, sort of)

 Home >  Psychology > periodic Methods File posting (FAQ, sort of)

Section 1 of 3 - Prev - Next
All sections - 1 - 2 - 3

Archive-name: suicide_methods
Last-modified: October 16 1993

Hello, folks. This is the semi-famous Methods
File. It contains information on many different ways to take your own
life. Some of them are serious, some of them are not. Hopefully, you
can see which is which by yourself, but I'll try to mark them anyway. 

This file will be posted on the third and seventeenth of every month.
It may take a while before it gets out to your site.

The early versions of this file were created and maintained by Michael
Marsden, who unfortunately no longer has access to the Net. After he
left, the File sort of hung in a Limbo for a long time, in custody of
a variety of people I can't remember (if you at some time or other
were a maintainer of the File, I'd like to hear from you). I think,
but am far from sure, that Angela Watson (a.k.a. Psycho Kitten) was
the last "official" maintainer, but I got the impression that she no
longer is. 

Anyway, I have dictatorially taken over the custodianship of the
File. If you want to complain, my email address is 
Replying to this posting should work.

Comments on the content of the file are welcome, generally speaking.
If your comments are of the kind "You shouldn't help people kill
themselves, you should help them towards a better life instead", you're
wasting your time. I've grown very tired of that debate, and will most
probably no longer reply to mail with that general content. The most
basic difference in opinion between me and those who have mailed me
telling me I'm a monster, seems to be that they think that death is
an inherently Bad Thing, while I don't.

What follows is a not-so-slightly edited version of the last File
posted by Mike Marsden. The text's "I" is Mike, my comments will be

==PART1== preamble

   This list is compiled from a large number of sources, the main one being
   this newsgroup (ASH). I have not named anyone in any of the entries to
   ensure their privacy.

   Calle: I, on the other hand, will name sources if (and only if) the
	  sources give me permission. 

   There may be inaccuracies in many of the entries... double check if you can.
   Go to the library and read up on your favorite method - check dosages in the
   manufacturer's data sheets. If you do notice any inaccuracies, please
   write to the net ASAP.

   This file is provided for the purposes of amusement, and the actual use of
   any of these methods is not recommended without first considering other
   possibilities, such as dying of old age. Please do not pass it onto people
   whom you know to be actively suicidal.. you may find yourself in jail for
   considerable periods. I have a small amount of info on British law regarding
   assisting suicides; feel free to ask me for a copy. Basically, distribution
   to a number of unknown people is fine, but giving it to someone whom you
   know is actively considering suicide can get you into jail for up to 14

   I should also point out that this file is distributed world-wide, and there
   will be significant differences in the legal aspects in other

   Calle: For example, in Sweden the distribution of this file is
	  completely legal, according to a lawyer I know. As long as
	  you don't physically help someone to commit suicide, you're
	  safe. According to the lawyer mentioned above, Dr.
	  Kevorkian's suicide machine would probably be legal in

   [1]"Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide
           for the Dying" Derek Humphry (publisher: Hemlock)
   [2] newsgroup on "usenet"
   [3] newsgroup on "usenet"
   [4]"Poisonous Plants and Fungi: an Illustrated Guide" (Ministry of
           Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods) M R Cooper, A W Johnson
   [5]"Encyclopedia of Human Biology"
   "Let Me Die Before I Wake" Derek Humphry
   "Suicide, Mode d'Emploi" Claude Guillon, Yves Le Bonniec
   "Zorg jij dak ik niet meer wakker word?" Klazien Sybrandy, Rob Bakker
   "How To Die With Dignity" George B Mair, EXIT (Scottish)
   "A Guide To Self-Deliverance" EXIT (Britain)
   "Autodeliverance" Michel L Landa
   "Justifiable Euthanasia" Pieter V Admiraal
   "First You Cry" Betty Rollin
   "Last Wish" Betty Rollin
   "Death of a Man" Lael Wertenberger
   "Jean's Way" Derek Humphry
   "The Savage God: A Study of Suicide" A Alvarez
   "Double Exit" Ann Wickett
   "Voluntary Euthanasia: A Comprehensive Bibliography" G Johnson (Hemlock)
   "The Woman Said Yes" Jessamyn West
   "The Bell Jar" Sylvia Plath
   "Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products" Williams & Wilkins Company
   "Suicide: The Gamble with Death" Gene & David Lester
   "Crisis Intervention in the Community" Richard K McGee
   "Wanting to Die" Anne Sexton
   "Bitter Fame" (bio about) Sylvia Plath (author is) Anne Stevenson
   "Letters Home" (bio about) Sylvia Plath (author is) Aurelia S Plath
   "Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones & his People" Dutton
   "Essays in Self-Destruction" (ed) Edwin S Shneidman
   "Suicide: A Study in Sociology" Emile Durkheim
   "Suicide and Attempted Suicide" Erwin Stengel
   "Endangered Hope: Experiences in Psychiatric Aftercare Facilities" David K
           Reynolds, Norman L Farberow
   "Death Wishes? The Understanding & Managment of Deliberate Self Harm"
           H G Morgan
   "The Final Months: a Study of the Lives of 134 Persons who Committed
           Suicide" Eli Robins
   "Suicide: Inside and Out" David K Reynolds, Normal L Farberow
   "Attempted Suicide: A Practical Guide to its Nature and Management" Keith
           Hawton, Jose Catalan
   "The Negative Scream: A Story of Young People Who Took an Overdose" Sally
   "Caring for the Suicidal" John Eldrid
   "The Samaritans: to help those tempted to suicide or despair" Chad Varah
   "Mishima: A Biography" John Nathan
   "Self-Mutilation: Theory, Research, and Treatment" Barent W Walsh, Paul M
   "Defeating Depression: a Guide for Depressed People and Their Familes"
           C A H Watts
   "Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison" Dorothy Rowe
   "The Oxford Book of Death" D J Enright

   This booklist is an extended list from [1]. I strongly recommend [1], try
   getting it mail order from the address below.

   Calle: Not used in the creation of this file, but recommended on
	  the newsgroup was:

	  "The Enigma Of Suicide" by George Howe Colt

   The National Hemlock Society  [American, pro-euthanasia, many books,
   PO Box 11830                   D Humphry is founder]
   Eugene, OR 97440-3900
   (503) 342-5748

   Samaritans                    [British, suicide hotlines and
                                  prevention, Chad Varah is founder.
                                  non-interventionist approach]

   Befrienders International     [International, suicide prevention,
                                  umbrella organisation]

   The Voluntary Euthanasia Society  [British, pro-euthanasia]
       (Formerly British EXIT)

   Association pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignite
                                 [French, pro-euthanasia]

   Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Humanes Sterben
                                 [German, pro-euthanasia]

   Club of Life                  [American, anti-euthanasia]

   to get index, type 'grep == methods >methods_index' in unix.

==PART2== Methods: poisons

   [1] makes most of these points:
   *Most drugs cause vomiting. To help stop this, take one or two anti-
    histamine tablets (travel sickness, allergy, hayfever tablets etc) about
    an hour before, on a fairly empty stomach.
   *If the drugs are in tablet form, take the first 20% as they are, and the
    rest crushed and dissolved / mixed in with strong alcohol / food. This
    helps the drugs to hit at the same time.
   *Alcohol helps dissolve the drugs. Don't drink any beforehand, but wash the
    tablets down with vodka or similar, and then drink afterwards while you're
    still conscious.
   *Use a large airtight plastic bag over your head, + something around your
    neck to hold it on. This transforms a 90% certainty method into a 99%...
   *Friday night is a good time if you life alone - nobody will miss you until
    Monday if you work. Bolt all the doors you can. Say you'll be out over the
    weekend visiting someone, so people don't expect a reply to telephone.
   *Some painkillers etc have less effect if you use them normally (tolerance).
   *In general, you need to stay away from medical help until you actually die,
    but there are exceptions to this (that have been pointed out in the text).

   Common drugs:

   ==Cyanide (HCN, KCN)
      Dosage:    50 mg Hydrogen Cyanide gas, 200-300 mg Cyanide salts
      Time:      seconds for HC, minutes Cs (empty stomach) hours (full s)
      Available: very difficult to get hold of
      Certainty: very certain
      Notes:     It helps to have an empty stomach (since the salts react
         with the stomach acids to form H.C.). A full stomach can delay death
         for up to four hours with the salts. Antidotes to cyanide poisoning
         exist, but they have serious side effects. What you can do, is instead
         of taking the salts directly, drop 500mg or so into a strong acid,
         and inhale the fumes. This will be pure Hydrogen Cyanide, and you
         should die in 10 to 20 seconds.
         "Hydrocyanic acid is one of the most poisonous substances known; the
         inhalation of its fumes in high concentration will cause almost
         immediate death. Hydrogen cyanide acts by preventing the normal
         process of tissue oxidation and paralyzing the respiratory center in
         the brain. Most of the accidental cases are due to inhaling the fumes
         during a fumigating process. In the pure state it kills with great
         rapidity. Crystalline cyanides, such as potassium or sodium cyanide
         are equally poisonous, since they interact with the hydrochloric acid
         in the stomach to liberate hydrocyanic acid. This poison has been used
         for both homicide and suicide; in recent history, a number of European
         political figures carried vials of cyanide salt for emergency
         self-destruction and some used them. Death resulted from amounts of
         only a fraction of a gram. A concentration of 1 part in 500 of
         hydrogen cyanide gas is fatal. Allowable working concentration in most
         of the United States is 20 ppm. Two and one-half grains of liquid acid
         has killed. The acid acts fatally in about 15 minutes. The cyanide
         salts kill in several hours. The average dose of solution is 0.1 cc.
         [1, DGHS talking about KCN]:
         on an empty stomach, take a small glass of cold tap water. (Not
         mineral water nor any sort of juice or soda water because of it's
         acidity). Stir 1 -> 1.5 grammes of KCN into the water. More than that
         causes irritation to the throat. Wait 5 minutes to dissolve. It should
         be drunk within several hours. Consciousness will be lost in about a
         minute. Death will follow 15 -> 45 minutes later.

   ==Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid)
      Dosage:    20-30+ grammes (too many cause vomitting)
      Time:      hours to days, variable
      Available: easy to get hold of (get soluble ones, & dissolve them)
      Certainty: unreliable
      Notes:     Not recommended, fatal dose varies wildly, could cause liver
         & kidney damage instead of death. OD causes strange noises in your
         ears (like a video arcade) & projectile vomiting after about 10 hours.
         Medical help generally effective, so stay out of hospital for a couple
         of days. May cause bleeding in your stomach/upper intestines. Take
         with sodium bicarbinate (eg, bicarb. of soda), which speeds up the
         absorption (sp?) significantly. Take 1 or 2 antihistamine tablets.

   ==Paracetamol (aka acetaminopren / tylenol)
      Dosage:    15+ grammes, 20+ is better
      Time:      10 hours fatal damage, but 2 weeks to actually die
      Available: easy to get hold of
      Certainty: fairly reliable
      Notes:     Once 10-12 hours is up, you've had it, but you still live for
         a week or two after that. Probably better to wait 15 hours just to
         make sure. Horrible side effects during this time (some of which are:
         acute toxic hepatitis, renal failure, cerebral oedema, intra-abdominal
         bleeding, aspiration pneumonia, haemophilia). Too small dose causes
         severe liver damage. Accidental deaths are very common. There are few
         if any side effects before the damage becomes fatal; occasionally
         vomitting and nausea.

   ==Sleeping tablets (see specific notes for each kind)
      * See later entries for amobarbital, butabarbital, diazepam, flurazepam,
        glutethimide, chloral hydrate, hydromorphone, meprobamate, methyprylon,
        meperidine (pethidine), methadone, morphine, orphenadrine,
        phenobarbital [also check trade names in same entries].

   ==Alcohol (spirits preferably, your choice)
      Dosage:    1/2 litre vodka?, similar. Varies from person to person.
      Time:      about 8 hours
      Available: good
      Certainty: unreliable
      Notes:     will cause liver and kidney damage if 'rescued' before death.
         Drink it all at the same time, quickly as possible. Dosage is
         questionable, I don't have any figures. Taking the spirits as an
         enema is supposed to be a very quick way of absorbing alcohol, but a
         less unpleasant way is to inject it. The dosage it takes to kill you
         depends on whether you drink normally, the state of your liver,
         whether you pass out on your back or not.
         [3]: "The fatal dose of pure alcohol in an average adult is 300-400 mL
         (750-1000 mL of 40% alcohol) if consumed in less than one hour. Apart
         from the effects of overdosage, death after alcohol consumption can
         occur as a result of choking on vomit while unconscious. .....
         Consequences such as liver damage occur after chronic consumption."
         Alcohol helps other drugs to dissolve. Don't drink it in advance, wash
         down tablets with it, & follow by drinking another few glasses of

      Dosage:    14 litres mentioned
      Time:      12 hours or so?
      Available: always available
      Certainty: unknown
      Notes:     works by washing out the salts in your body, until the cells
         fail (osmotic balance buggered up). You need to keep drinking
         continually until you collapse. Unusual method. Someone suggested it
         would also cause cramps. The following is something from [2]:
         "About a year ago a local newspaper carried a story about a
         woman who had drunk herself to death. Apparently she had ingested
         something mildly poisonous, and when she called her doctor asking him
         what to do, he told her to drink lots of water and see him in the
         morning. She got to it and managed to drink no less than 14 litres of
         water before the osmotic balance in her body was so upset it could no
         longer function and she died (don't know how quickly)".

	 Calle: The above anecdote originally came from me, and the
		death described occured in Vxj, Sweden.
		Unfortunately I no longer remember which newspaper I
		saw it in.

		Recently, I was told about a similar case in San
		Antonio. It supposedly happened a couple of years ago
		and was reported in the local San Antonio Express/News.

   ==Bleach and other corrosives (lye, drain cleaning fluids)
      Dosage:    A bottle (litre or half litre)
      Time:      Hours/days
      Available: Easily available
      Certainty: Uncertain
      Notes:     Bloody painful - depends on your stomach getting corroded,
         the stomach acids escaping, and doing their dirty work in your vital
         [1] says: "I have heard of people throwing themselves through plate
         glass windows in their death agonies after drinking lye."

   ==Insulin (injected)
      Dosage:    No idea
      Time:      death in hours to days
      Available: Difficult to get hold of unless you're a diabetic or a vet
      Certainty: reasonable
      Notes:     Supposed to be quite pleasant (eg insulin shock treatments
         used for some psychiatric condition).

   ==Petrol (in lungs/injected)
      Dosage:    "A Thimble-full" -20 ml?
      Time:      Seconds/minutes
      Available: Common
      Certainty: I'm not sure of the dosage, but fairly certain if correct
      Notes:     Can also use LPG (propane/butane) on skin surface (since
         these are light enough to go through the skin). Stick your hand in a
         bucket of propane and see how many seconds you last...

   ==Oil of Wintergreen/Methyl Salicylate (in lungs/injected)
      Dosage:    Probably similar to petrol (20 ml)
      Time:      Don't know
      Available: Not available in concentration
      Certainty: Don't know
      Notes:     Don't have enough information on this one to be able to say
         anything about it. If it is just taken normally, it is the same as

   ==Malathion (insecticide) (entry revised by Calle)
      Dosage:    A few bottles, at least
      Time:      2 to 3 hours
      Available: From a large garden centre or DIY shop
      Certainty: not so good
      Notes:     A correspondent mentions that the LD50 of this stuff
		 is 1 g/kg in rats, and adds that there is not nearly
		 that much in a bottle. He also mentions that it is
		 treatable. Instead of this, he recommends parathion,
		 if you really want to use an insecticide.

   ==Phosphine gas from aluminium phosphide pesticide (ALP)
      Dosage:    Single 3 gramme tablet (".. is enough to kill 10 people")
      Time:      About 2 hours
      Available: Difficult. Used in India, sold on black market.
      Certainty: Without medical help, and using fresh pill, very good
      Notes:     This is a common way of committing suicide in Indian villages.
         There is no specific antidote to this. The pills are 3 grammes of ALP,
         which produces lethal phosphine gas when it comes in contact with
         hydrochloric acid or water in the stomach. After severe vomiting, the
         victim loses consciousness, the blood vessels rupture, and body
         cavities fill with blood. While the pill is exceedingly lethal, some
         escape death because the rate of the gas' release declines with the
         pill's age and use, and exposure to moisture.  Trouble with this one
         is the availability, and it also looks like a rather unpleasant.

   ==Rat poison (Warfarin)
      Dosage:    not known
      Time:      Hours to terminal damage, days to actual death
      Available: Available
      Certainty: Certain given suffient dosage. Most probably treatable.
      Notes:     This is one of the truly unpleasant poisons, along with
         Paracetamol/Acetylminopren. I think it causes cerebral haemorage (rat
         poison works by giving the unfortunate rat haemophillia). Doctors
         can't do anything about it, they just leave you to die in agony on an
         intensive care ward.

      Calle: Since human haemophiliacs usually live quite ordinary
	     lives, the above sounds rather improbable.

      Dosage:    20 grammes (someone said 8 -> 10 grammes)
      Time:      not known
      Available: Caffeine tablets available in Chemist shops
      Certainty: don't know
      Notes:     I don't know very much about this.  There isn't all that much
         caffeine in coffee, maybe 200 mg.

   ==Potassium Chloride (injected in solution) / KCl
      Dosage:    not known (try 20cc injection of strong solution)
      Time:      Seconds to minutes
      Available: Widely available
      Certainty: Certain given correct dosage
      Notes:     Causes heart attack (which is painful). May be difficult
         for coroner to realise it was suicide rather than a natural heart
         attack. An excess of K+ in the blood interferes with nerve signals,
         and stops muscles and nerves from working. So when it reaches your
         heart, the heart stops.

   ==Nitrogen gas (or other inert gas)
      Dosage:    Several litres uncompressed is minimum
      Time:      Minutes
      Available: Try plumber, or welding supplies company
      Certainty: Certain
      Notes:     This is really a form of asphyxiation, (see later), but is
         particularly good since you don't experience the lack of oxygen (what
         people really experience is the EXCESS of carbon dioxide).

   ==Nitrous oxide (N20? NO2?)
      Dosage:    Unknown
      Time:      Minutes
      Available: Dentists supply would be good
      Certainty: reasonable
      Notes:     Asphyxiate yourself with laughing gas. Nice.

   ==Carbon Monoxide (CO)
      Dosage:    5% concentration or so?
      Time:      Minutes to hours depending on concentration
      Available: You get it out of a car exhaust, you used to be able to use
         "town gas" (eg, stick your head in the cooker) but this is no longer
      Certainty: Fairly certain, as long as you aren't "rescued"
      Notes:     Causes brain damage.

      Calle: A correspondent from Denmark, where you still can use
	     "town gas" to kill yourself, says that even though it's
	     possible it's not a good idea. He tells of an incident
	     where a family committed suicide by turning on the gas
	     and waiting. Apparently, the heavier-than-air carbon
	     monoxide leaked through the floor and reached the people
	     in the apartment below. Not nice.

	     The actual cause of death is asphyxiation, since the
	     carbon monoxide binds tighter to haemoglobine than oxygen
	     does (the oxygen gets crowded out, so to speak).

   ==Chlorine gas
      Dosage:    not known
      Time:      not known
      Available: tricky
      Certainty: Good
      Notes:     This was used in the first world war in the trenches.
         Probably very unpleasant, does something to the lungs.

      Dosage:    As produced by reaction
      Time:      Not known, fortnight?
      Available: Bottle of bleach & bottle of ammonia
      Certainty: not known
      Notes:     [2]:
         "This is no joke, D----.  Several years ago at my high school, one of
         the janitors innocently mixed together half a bottle of bleach with
         half a bottle of of ammonia in a small closet where the cleaning
         fluids were kept. He passed out due to the hydrazine (not chlorine)
         gas released in the reaction between the two chemicals. This man was
         in agony for two weeks in an intensive care unit in a local hospital
         with the majority of the inside surface of his lungs damaged and
         untreatable before he got lucky and died."

      Dosage:    not known, just put a splash onto a rag
      Time:      several minutes probably
      Available: not known
      Certainty: good
      Notes:     If you tape the rag over your mouth so that you get knocked
         out, you should die as you continue getting the stuff into your lungs.

   ==Digitalis (Foxglove, Digitalis Purpurea)
      Dosage:    not known
      Time:      not known
      Available: extract from foxgloves
      Certainty: bad due to vomiting
      Notes:     [4]:
         Gives you a heart-attack. Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain,
         diarrhoea, headache, and slow irregular pulse. Also sometimes
         trembling, convulsions, delirium, and hallucinations. Its difficult to
         take a fatal amount because vomiting usually gets rid of it.

   ==Yew (Taxus Baccata, the "English Yew")
      Dosage:    not known
      Time:      Can be very rapid (minutes), occasionally 3 or 4 days.
      Available: Grows wild in the UK, don't know about elsewhere.
      Certainty: not sure, but it sounds good if you eat enough
      Notes:     [4]:
         All parts of the plant, _except_ for the fleshy red bit of the fruit,
         contain poisons. The seeds are poisonous, so if you eat the berries,
         chew them. Symptoms: nausea, abdominal pain, coma, death. The mode of
         death is a heart attack which occurs rapidly after eating sufficient.
         If no heart attack occurs, you'll probably survive. Sometimes the
         sudden collapse leading to death is preceded by lethargy, trembling,
         staggering, coldness, dilation of the pupils, rapid pulse that becomes
         weak, and convulsions. Other species in this genus are said to be
         equally poisonous. See "plants in general".

   ==Mezerein, Daphnetoxin (Mezereon, AKA Daphne Mezereum, AKA D. Laureola)
      Dosage:    "a few". Probably 10 or more.
      Time:      not known
      Available: Garden plant. Seeds are particularly poisonous.
      Certainty: not known, dosage is questionable.
      Notes:     [4]:
         The berries taste horrid, but you only need to eat a few to cause
         death. Symptoms: burning sensation in mouth, nausea, vomiting, stomach
         pains, diarrhoea, weakness, disorientation, convulsions, followed by
         death. The seeds can be dried and stored without affecting the
         poisons. Don't confuse this with laurels in the Prunus genus, Rosacea
         family. See "plants in general".

   ==Atropine (Atropa Belladonna AKA Deadly Nightshade. Also potato fruits)
      Dosage:    5 berries in young children.. maybe 30 in adults?
      Time:      6 to 24 hours
      Available: from fruits of some plants in the potato family.
      Certainty: unknown, particularly dosage is questionable
      Notes:     [4]:
         AB also contains hyoscyamine and hyoscine (scopolamine). Symptoms:
         dry mouth, flushed face, dilation of pupils, rapid pulse. Possibly
         also breathing difficulties, constipation, convulsions,
         hallucinations, and coma. AB is often confused with other Nightshade
         species, which aren't as poisonous. The berries are black in AB, and
         red in Woody Nightshade. In addition, the flowers are larger (1.2 in)
         in the true Deadly Nightshade.
         Present in unripe deadly nightshake fruits, fruits of potato, and
         fruits of other members of this family (not tomato though!), but stick
         with AB. See the "plants in general" entry.

   Calle: A correspondent mentions that Jimsonweed will also do, and
	  that a specific antidote exists.

   ==Oleander (Nerium Oleander. Poison similar to digitalis)
      Dosage:    not known, but fairly small amounts.
      Time:      unknown.
      Available: leaves, wood of the plant. From garden centres.
      Certainty: unknown.
      Notes:     [4]:
         Deaths have been caused by using wood from this plant in fires, and
         making tea from the leaves. In a few hours there is abdominal pain,
         nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, rapid pulse, and visual effects.
         Later, a slow, weak, irregular pulse and fall in blood pressure,
         followed by failure of heart. See the "plants in general" entry.

   ==Death-Cap / Destroying-Angel toadstool  (Amanita Phalloides)
      Dosage:    Fraction of one can kill, but eat 1 or 2 just in case.
      Time:      Week or so
      Available: Have to know what it looks like.. similar edible ones
      Certainty: Definite without med. treatment; unknown with.
      Notes:     [5, Volume 7, pp591-592]:
         "Poisoning by toxic Amanita species is characterised by a delay in
         onset of 4 to 12 hours. At this point, nausea vomiting, colic-like
         pain, and diarrhea occur. There then follows a period of respite,
         which can last for two to four days. This phase does NOT signify
         recovery: damage to the liver and kidneys continues to develop and
         the respite gives way to hepatic and renal failure. Death usually
         occurs a week or so after poisoning.". See "plants in general".

   ==Ricin (Castor oil plant, Ricinus Communis)
      Dosage:    death has occured from eating 1 bean, but take more than 10
      Time:      within 3 to 5 days
      Available: From eating the castor beans
      Certainty: depends on ricin content of the beans. Pure ricin is deadly
      Notes:     [2] and [4]:
         Symptoms begin within a few hours with abdominal pain, vomiting and
         bloody diarrhoea for several days. Decreased production of urine and
         a fall in blood pressure. Note that people have survived eating more
         than 10 beans, *with treatment*. Presumably the fatal dose without
         medical intervention is less. Surviving more than 3 to 5 days usually
         means recovery. Ricin is described as " of the most potent toxins
         In 1978 a Bulgarian journalist (Georgi Markov) was assassinated in
         London by being prodded with an umbrella. The umbrella had a tiny ball
         coated with ricin on its tip, which lodged into the dissident. He
         died a few days later in hospital. See "plants in general".

   ==Colchicine (Acetyltrimethylcolchicinic acid, Autumn Crocus, Royal Lily)
      Dosage:    7 mg to 60 mg  (why so wide variation?)
      Time:      symptoms in about 4 hours, death in about 4 days
      Available: Easily available (from large garden centre)
      Certainty: certain
      Notes:     [New Scientist article:]
         From the Autumn crocus (Colchicum Autumnale) / royal lily (Gloriosa
         Superba). One flower of CA is about 12 mg, so take at least five of
         them. 20g tuber of GS provides 60mg, single seed of CA provides 3.5mg
         (so take 18). Damages blood vessels and nerves, and stops cell
         division. Don't know whether its painful or not, but that bit about
         damaging nerves is worrying. I just _love_ the name of the acid! See
         See the "plants in general" entry.

   ==Aconitine (AKA Wolfsbane, Monkshood, aconitum napellus, a. anglicum)
      Dosage:    "a few grams"
      Time:      10 mins to few hours
      Available: Garden plant, so get from garden centre
      Certainty: unknown (can be treated in hospital)
      Notes:     [2] and [4]:
         The poison is concentrated in the unripe seed pods and roots.
         During winter, the roots are particularly poisonous. Symptoms develop
         in less than an hour. Burning sensation, feelings of coldness,
         sweating. Later, numbness, vomiting and diarrhoea with abdominal pain.
         Finally, slow pulse, convulsions and coma. Death may occur within 2
         hours. The poison kills by causing a cardiac failure, and it is
         painful. See the "plants in general" comment.

   ==Cicutoxin (Cowbane, Cicuta Virosa)

Section 1 of 3 - Prev - Next
All sections - 1 - 2 - 3

Back to category Psychology - Use Smart Search
Home - Smart Search - About the project - Feedback

© | Terms of use