Dictionary » C » Curare




(1) Common name for the plant species, Strychnos toxifera

(2) The substance containing the alkaloid D-tubocurarine and is derived from the plant species, Strychnos toxifera


Curare refers to the plant species known for producing the toxic substance used in making poisonous arrows.

The substance extracted from the plant is also referred to as curare. It is used as arrow poison particularly by South American Indians. It is a muscle relaxant substance and works by blocking the motor end plate transmission and acting as a competitive antagonist for acetylcholine. It reversibly inhibits the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor at the neuromuscular junction. When administered at a particular dose can cause death through asphyxiation by paralyzing the diaphragm.

Three general varieties of curare were described by Rudolf Boehm: (1) tube curare, (2) pot curare, and (3) calabash or gourd curare. The tube curare, also called tubocurarine or curine, is used as a base of incostrin and d-tubocurarine chloride that is highly toxic when crude. Nevertheless, it has no effect in human beings when taken orally (not like in birds, particularly, pigeons) due to slow absorption and rapid excretion. 1


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1Gray, TC (1947). "The Use of D-Tubocurarine Chloride in Anæsthesia". Ann R Coll Surg Engl 1 (4): 191–203. PMC 1940167.

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... movie star to the Amazon jungle promoting her/his newest action movie. While canoeing along with your dream date, you were shot in the leg with a curare-painted dart by a local native. Curare is a toxic plant alkaloid that binds tightly to acetylcholine receptors in skeletal muscle, blocking the ...

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by kimmay818
Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:04 am
Forum: Human Biology
Topic: An interesting essay I need help with
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It all depends on what is causing the paralysis, and what part of the body is affected. Some chemical causes include drugs based on curare, (the substance used on arrow tips in fights between cowboys and indians). This causes paralysis of the muscles needed for respiration. if artificial ...

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by Cilla
Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:41 pm
Forum: Human Biology
Topic: Paralysis
Replies: 1
Views: 1847

Cure-alike Drugs

It's spelt curare. I saw this drug featured in Batman Beyond :D.

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by mith
Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:51 pm
Forum: Human Biology
Topic: Cure-alike Drugs
Replies: 7
Views: 4205

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