In the mid-nineteenth century, the calabash bean was used in its homeland of West Africa to bring about divine judgments. If the alleged criminal died of the bean given, he was guilty of the crime, he survived and vomited, judging it to be his innocence, The seeds of the calabar bean are the only poisonous parts of the climber.

Occurrence & cultivation of the calabar bean

Originally the plant only appeared in West Africa. From there she reached India and Brazil. The Kalabarbohne prefers locations on river banks and grows sometimes directly in the water. The Kalabarbohne ( Physostigma venenosum ) is also called God's judgment bean, as it was formerly found with their help, whether a person was guilty of a specific crime or not. The perennial climbing plant with the poisonous beans belongs to the legumes ( Faboideae ). It forms about 15 meters long vines of five centimeters in diameter, which are lignified in the lower area and herbaceous above.

Their leaves have an oval, tapered shape and are about 15 inches long. The inflorescences of the plant hang down on the side of the liana. Her dark purple flowers are snail-like rolled up. The thick brown legumes of the calabar bean can be up to 15 inches long and each contain two or three kidney-shaped dark brown shiny seeds.

Originally the plant only appeared in West Africa. From there she reached India and Brazil. The Kalabarbohne prefers locations on river banks and grows sometimes directly in the water. She also climbs rainforest trees.

Effect & application

The plant with the poisonous seeds contains as its main active ingredient the alkaloid physostigmine (eserine), which was first isolated from the bean in 1864. It also contains essential oils, mucilage, resins, dodecanoic acid, linoleic, oleum, palmitic and stearic acid, potash. It also contains the minor alkaloids Geneserin (0.1 percent), Physovenin (0.1 percent), Eseramine, Calabarin, Calabacin, Calabarol, Beta-Sitosterol, Stigmasterol, Trifolianol, 48 percent starch, 23 percent proteins and 2.3 percent fats in front.

Physostigmine and calabrine have a similar toxic effect to strychnine and are almost exclusively found in bean cotyledons. For reasons of high toxicity, only standardized finished preparations and homeopathic medicines containing the active ingredients are used today. Previously, physostigmine was used subcutaneously as an injection in extremely low doses and as a powder in eye treatment.

The drug causes a narrowing of the pupils (miosis) in diseased dilated pupils and is also used in an atropine poisoning as an antidote. As an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, it has a cholinergic effect and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in increased muscle activity.

Since the smell, taste and colorless drug can also pass through the blood-brain barrier, it ensures in the brain that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is not broken down by the enzyme. It causes a reduced heart rate in higher doses, stimulates the salivation, paralyzes the respiratory tract, narrows the pupils and stimulates intestinal peristalsis in case of intestinal weakness. At a dose of six to ten mg, physostigmine is fatal.

This amount is contained in two to three calabar beans. When administered more than one milligram, the following side effects may occur when used externally (for example during eye treatment): palpitations, sweats, muscle spasms and severe discomfort. As a result, inflammation of the respiratory tract and eyes as well as hoarseness may occur.

In severe physostigmine poisoning, which can cause death by respiratory paralysis, the patient must be immediately intensive medical treatment. He is flushed his stomach. He receives atropine as an antidote, activated carbon and as needed sodium sulfate. Diazepam helps against cramps. Can not be used with potassium borate remedies for bronchial asthma, gangrene, coronary heart disease, urinary and intestinal blockage.

In addition, pregnant women, nursing women, children and adolescents and people with hypersensitivity to the active substance should not consume the product. If the drug is used with other cholinesterase inhibitors, an enhancement of the effects occurs.

Importance for Health, Treatment & Prevention

The active ingredients of the calabar bean are a proven antidote for atropine and curare intoxications. At a very low dose (0.12-0.24 grams) they were formerly used to treat intestinal colic, glaucoma (cataract), neuralgia (especially trigeminal neuralgia), epilepsy, constipation, tetanus, paralysis (especially from myelitis caused paralysis of the extremities and progressive paralysis), chorea minor, locomotor ataxia and hypertension.

For eye disorders, physostigmine was used locally. Today, the agent is administered homeopathically in the form of globules, dilution and tablets (Teep), since it is well tolerated in this form. The application profile is similar to that from earlier times. The doctor or veterinarian eliminates thereby caused by intestinal weakness Kotstauungen with flatulence. In veterinary medicine, it is administered subcutaneously as a laxative for intestinal colic and flatulence.

Examination of the eyes reverses pupillary dilation caused by atropine. To prevent the physostigmine from entering the body, the doctor compresses the tear duct on the lower lid. In ophthalmology physostigmine sulfate is used as Eserinum sulfuricum alternating with Euphrasia in mydriasis (pupil dilation), keratitis, iritis, iris prolapse and corneal ulcers.

Contrary to previous practice, the potassium borate drug is not used in the treatment of glaucoma: its pupil-narrowing and intraocular pressure reducing action does not last long enough to achieve lasting patient health improvement. For home use, the homeopath prescribes primordial tincture and tea.

The patient takes one tablet two to three times a day. To reduce blood sugar levels in diabetes and for Parkinson's treatment, a dose of three level teaspoons in potency D2 is necessary.


  • doctor 
  • to travel 
  • medical devices 
  • drug 
  • laboratory values 
  • Top