Cerbera odollam is a dicotyledonous angiosperm, a plant in the family Apocynaceae and commonly known as the suicide tree, pong-pong, mintolla, and othalanga. The seed of the Cerbera odollam has reportedly been used in more suicide and murders than any other plant. The tree is native to India and other parts of southern Asia and certain a toxin called cerberin. This potent compound disrupts the function of your heart muscles, leading to an irregular heartbeat that can be fatal if enough cerberin is ingested.
How do you Identify the Cerbera Odollam tree?
The plant grows in a wet area in South India, Madagascar, and Southeast Asia. Its branchlets are whorled about the trunk, and its leaves have terminally crowed with tapering bases, acuminate and entire margins. The plant as a whole yields a milky white latex. Its fruit when still green looks like small mango, with a green fibrous shell enclosing and measuring approximately 2.5 cm to 2 cm and consisting of two cross-matching white fleshy flowers. On exposure to air, the white kernel turns violet, then ultimately brown, or black.
Why people called this plant is ‘suicide tree’.
Because the flavor of this poisonous plant is easily disguised in food and the toxin is notoriously overlooked by medical examiners. Ingestion of Cerbera odollam is the cause of deaths in more than half of Kerala plant poisoning deaths. In fact between 1989 and 1999 Cerbera odollam reportedly caused more than 500 deaths in the Southwest Indian state of Kerala alone. In this study, 102 patients were identified with Cerbera odollam poisoning, and the mortality rate was 16.7 %. That’s the reason people called this plant a ‘suicide tree’ or ‘murder tree’.
In the study the three-quarter of Cerbera victims is women. This plant is being used to kill young women and wives, who do not meet the exacting standards of some Indian families.
Symptoms of eating Cerbera odollam fruit
The common symptoms of fruit those who eat mistakenly.
Burning sensation in the mouth.
Coma or death
Electrocardiogram (ECG) changes were common in our patients, and we observed different types of heart block in the same ECG itself. It carries a high mortality rate, and the predictor of mortality includes vomiting, bradycardia, hypotension, hyperkalemia, and the presence of severe ECG changes.
Cerbera odollam fruit uses to Manufacture
Plant It does have at least some benefit, the fruit is used for manufacturing bioinsecticides, deodorants, and potentially, feedstock for use in the production of biodiesel.
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