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physostigmine Line breaks: physo|stig¦mine
Pronunciation: /ˌfʌɪsəʊˈstɪɡmiːn/

Definition of physostigmine in English:


[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.

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