Poisons that Have Become Medicines

Medicine is a strange thing. Many of the substances that we benefit from in modern medicine when used incorrectly can actually be lethal to human beings. In fact, there are probably many substances and treatments that are derived from deadly substances, that are now part and parcel of modern medicine.

Here are just a few examples of those substances that we consider toxic, and their modern day use in medicine (used correctly by doctors of course!)…

Botox – Most people will have heard of this or even tried it at somewhere like this Gloucester fillers provider https://doctorkate.co.uk/doctor-kate/ but did you know this miracle wrinkle reducing substance is actually the most poisonous substance on earth? It takes only a very tiny amount to kill someone yet has many medicinal uses. As well as being used effectively for cosmetic procedures, such as the anti-ageing injections most people are aware of, it is also a very effective treatment for a wide range of other medical issues. These include treating overactive sweat glands, correcting squints in the eyes and resolving leaks in the bladder.

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Yew – One of the most toxic plants, the entirety of this tree is well known for its highly toxic effects and its ability to kill. However, despite the fact that it is such a toxic plant, the chemical inside the plant, known as taxanes, which are mainly found in the leaves is used in the fight against cancer. The leaves of yew trees are clipped all around the UK, as they then go into chemotherapy drugs for certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer. In fact, there are two types of chemotherapy drugs that are made from the leaves of Yew trees.

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Arsenic – Something that is notorious for being a deadly poison is arsenic. With a long history of being used as a poison, it is one of the most toxic things that we could encounter. In Victorian times, before reforms to the drugs and pharmaceuticals laws, arsenic was widely available as a rat poison, which of course led to many murders over the years. However, because of this, it is under much stricter controls, and has also been found to be beneficial in medicine. Like the Yew tree, arsenic has been effectively used in cancer drugs as a treatment for types of leukaemia.

Snake Venom – There are many animals that are poisonous to humans – one of these is the Brazilian Pit Viper, a snake found in South America. When bitten by this snake, the snake releases a toxic chemical into the body of the victim causing the blood pressure to drop and killing the victim. In fact, this snake is the cause of more deaths in the area than any other snake. However, when researching this poison, scientists realised that it could be used for good in medicine, and created the first ACE inhibitor drug, which millions of people all over the world now benefit from. It is used in treating hypertension, heart disease and some types of kidney disease.