Definition of physostigmine in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌfʌɪsəʊˈstɪɡmiːn/


[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.
Example sentences
  • 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.


Mid 19th century: from the modern Latin genus name Physostigma (to which the Calabar bean belongs) + -ine4.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: physo|stig¦mine

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.