Curare is a toxic substance used in making poisonous arrowheads and as an adjunct in anesthesia. This substance is a muscle relaxant. Physiologically, it works by blocking the motor end plate transmission. It inhibits the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor at the neuromuscular junction. It relaxes the voluntary muscles but not the involuntary muscles. It can be lethal when administered at sufficient doses. Parenteral administration of curare can cause asphyxiation and death to the target. Rudolf Boehm categorized curare into three common varieties: (1) tube curare, (2) pot curare, and (3) gourd curare.1 Pot curare is originally packed in terra cotta pots. The alkaloid components in pot curare include protocurarine, protocurine, and protocuridine. However, protocurarine and protocurine are the toxic alkaloid components; protocuridine is not toxic. And between tube curare and pot curare, tube curare is commonly the more toxic relative to their LD50 values.
- arrow poison
- tube curare
- gourd curare
1Gray, TC (1947). "The Use of D-Tubocurarine Chloride in Anæsthesia". Ann R Coll Surg Engl 1 (4): 191–203. PMC 1940167.