Poison-Hemlock





The poison-hemlock is well known historically, being in use at the time

of Socrates, and believed to have been administered to him by the

Greeks. It is quite as poisonous now as in Socrates's day, and

accidental poisoning has come from people eating the seeds, mistaking

them for anise-seed, eating the leaves for parsley and the roots for

parsnips. The plant grows from two to seven feet high; its stem is

smooth and spotted or streaked with purplish-red. It has large,

parsley-like leaves and pretty clusters of small, white flowers which

grow, stiff-stemmed, from a common centre and blossom in July and

August. When the fresh leaves are bruised they give out a distinctly

mouse-like odor and they are very nauseating to the taste.

Poison-hemlock is common on waysides and waste places in New York, West

Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio. It is also found in New

England and Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, and California.



The treatment recommended by professionals is emetics, warmth of hands

and feet, artificial respiration, and the subcutaneous injection of

atropine, administered by a physician.





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