Common Poisons That Were Used in History


After people learn that they were able to kill with certain substances rather than using spears and knives, the act of poisoning was born. But, as with every other means of murder, the authorities eventually catch on to what is happening. So after people learned how poisons worked, and began learning about them through investigations, poisons began to fall out of fashion.

Let us examine a few of the poisons that were used throughout history.

Hemlock and Aconite

These two poisons are considered to be the classics as they were used during ancient times. Whenever folks were not aware of what to use, they usually went to the old reliable to hemlock. It’s probably most noted as the poison that Socrates drank to kill himself rather than accepting an unjustified guilt he had been accused of by the authorities of Athens.

Hemlock supposedly behaves as a paralytic while keeping the brain awake. It first takes out the body’s muscles before shutting off the respiratory system. Thus, death becomes asphyxiation while wide awake.

Aconite is derived from a plant known as monkshood. It also claimed a famous life. Roman Emperor Claudius was poisoned by aconite that his wife had placed in a dinner plate of mushrooms. This poison causes vomiting and diarrhea, followed by an arrhythmic heart until death.

It seems that hemlock and aconite were greatly used by the Romans and the Greeks who used poisons quite often in their political circles.

Belladonna and Mandrake

Belladonna got its name supposedly since due peasant women would rub it in their eyes. It is a paralytic, and would relax the muscles that were constricting the eye’s pupils. And when they rubbed it on their cheeks, their faces would flush – giving them a blushed look. It was believed that men found this more desirable.

Belladonna is actually a hallucinogenic that many witches used to give them a feeling of flying. When too much of it was used, it was lethal.

Poisonings by mandrake happened almost everywhere, but the events were most common in areas where European mandrake actually grew, and that was in Portugal and Spain. This type of mandrake flowers and bears edible fruit. The roots, however, are not to be eaten. This plant has many ways to poison someone – and it could kill without having to cook for someone.

The video below describes 7 influential poisoning that changed the course of history:

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