|Ordeal or Calabar Bean
venenosum) is native to an area
of Nigeria known as Calabar. The poisonous seeds of the
were used as an ordeal poison to identify witches or
by evil spirits. The accused were made to take drink
made of the beans.
The accused were declared innocent if they survived otherwise
if they died of respiratory failure. The trick to survive
the ordeal is to
take big gulps of the drink to make one sick and regurgitate
The active ingredient of the ordeal bean is the alkaloid
that prolongs the activity of acetylcholine by binding
esterase. It is used in insecticide and nerve gas in
In ophthalmology, it was used to treat glaucoma for over
Nowadays, it is mainly used for myasthenia gravis.