noun[mass noun] Chemistry
A compound which is the active ingredient of the Calabar bean and is used medicinally in eye drops on account of its anticholinesterase activity.
- Julian was interested in medicinal plants, particularly the Calabar bean whose active principle, physostigmine, was first isolated by the German chemists Jobst and Hesse in 1864.
- The symptoms of anticholinergic overdose may be treated with physostigmine in a dosage of 1 to 2 mg given intramuscularly or intravenously at 20-minute intervals.
- But since physostigmine could be isolated only from the Calabar bean, the drug was not readily available.
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