Piscidia erythrina

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The generic name is Latin for “fish killer”, and the specific epithet is Latin for “little fish”.

The pounded leaves and young branches of Piscidia eryth. and some allied species are used, like Cocculus, for poisoning fish─hence the name Piscidia (Piscis-cædere).

The experiment recorded in Allen is by W. Hamilton, who took a drachm of the tincture in water for toothache, and went off to sleep with such suddenness that when he awoke, twelve hours later, he was still holding the glass and vial from which he had taken the dose.


Mouth.─When chewed, unpleasant acrimony in mouth, like that of Mezereum.

Sleep.─”A sleep the most profound I ever experienced, arrested me so suddenly that I remained motionless the whole night with the uncorked vial in one hand, and the glass out of which I had taken the dose in the other, until the sun was high above the horizon, a space of twelve hours, when I first returned to consciousness, free from every pain or ache, and without any of the unpleasant sensations which invariably succeed an overdose of Opium”

Fever.─”Violent sensation of heat generally, increasing in intensity; the sensation of burning gradually extended to the surface, and while I was considering what antidote I ought to employ, a profuse diaphoresis burst out from every pore.”

Reference: A dictionary of Practical Materia Medica. J. H. Clarke

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