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IUPAC name
Other names Enanthotoxin
CAS number 20311-78-8
PubChem 6436464
Molecular formula C17H22O2
Molar mass 258.355 g/mol
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Oenanthotoxin is a toxin extracted from hemlock water dropwort (Oenanthe crocata) and other plants of the genus Oenanthe. It is a central nervous system poison, and acts as a noncompetitive gamma-aminobutyric acid antagonist. [1] This toxin played some role in euthanasia in ancient Sardinia, for inducing risus[2]. It was first isolated by a Boehm scientist in 1876 and was crystallized in 1949 by E.G.C. Clarke, D.E. Kidder and W.D. Robertson (J. Pharm. Pharmacol.).[3][4] It is structurally closely related to the toxin cicutoxin of water hemlock.[5][6][7]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Scientific American, August 2009
  3. ^ Death by cicutoxin
  4. ^ Polyacetylenes from Sardinian Oenanthe fistulosa: A Molecular Clue to risus sardonicus
  5. ^ E. Anet, B. Lythgoe, M. H. Silk, S. Trippett (1953). "Oenanthotoxin and cicutoxin. Isolation and structures". Journal of the Chemical Society: 309–322. doi:10.1039/JR9530000309.  
  6. ^ L. A. King, M. J. Lewis, D. Parry, P. J. Twitchett, E. A. Kilner (1985). "Identification of oenanthotoxin and related compounds in hemlock water dropwort poisoning.". Human Toxicology 4 (4): 355–364. doi:10.1177/096032718500400401.  
  7. ^ E. Anet, B. Lythgoe, M. H. Silk, S. Trippett (1952). "The Chemistry of Oenanthotoxin and Cicutoxin". Chemistry and Industry 31: 757–758.  


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