Hemlock

background

Hemlock (Conium maculatum) is one of the most poisonous plants, due to the presence of piperidine alkaloids in all parts of the plant, including the leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, and roots. Hemlock was purportedly the poison used in ancient Greece to execute condemned prisoners.
Hemlock poisoning affects the central nervous system (CNS), causing CNS stimulation followed by depression. Hemlock intoxication has occurred when this plant or parts of it are mistaken for other wild and cultivated edible plants, including fennel, wild carrot, wild chervil, anise (seeds), parsley (leaves), and parsnip (roots). Toxic reactions may result from inhalation as well as ingestion, due to the volatility of hemlock alkaloids. Drying the plant greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the toxicity.

Related Terms

Alkaloids, Apiaceae (formerly Umbelliferae) family, ash, atropine, beaver poison, California fern, carrot weed, Cicuta, conhydrine, coniceine, coniine, Conium, conium alkaloids, Conium maculate, Conium maculatum, conium ointment, conline, ethyl piperidine, fixed oil, green extract of conium, hemlock alkaloids, hemlock juice, herb bennet, juice of conium, keck, kecksies, kex, mucilage, musquash root, Nebraska fern, piperidine alkaloids, poison fool's parsley, poison hemlock, poison parsley, poison-hemlock, pseudoconhydrine, spotted corobane, spotted hemlock, spotted parsley, succus Conii, Umbelliferae, wild carrot.
Note: Hemlock (Conium maculatum) is a different species from Eastern hemlock or water hemlock.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.