CERBERA THEVETIA 719 A man of Parner in Ahmednagar District committed suicide by taking the juice of Kaner root (Nerium odorum) .2G Nerium odorum is sometimes used as suicidal poison and rarely as a homicidal poison, but it has caused death when administered as a love potion. In his annual report for the year 1949, the Chemical Examiner, Madras, cites a case in which a man offered some pills containing oleander to the barren wives of a man saying that they were " prasadams " of a deity. The husband and the two wives took them and suffered from poisonous symptoms. One of the wives died and the other wife and the husband recovered. In his annual report for the year 1951 the Chemical Examiner, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, mentions a case in which a woman of Surguja District in Madhya Pradesh suspecting her step-mother-in-law of having her two chil- dren by witchcraft mixed Kaner paste with sharbat and administered it to her step-mother-in-law while she was drinking liquor along with other persons during a wedding. She felt burning sensation inside, vomited several times and died two hours later. Kaner was detected in the portions of viscera and other articles received for examination. As a cattle poison the juice of the root is sometimes smeared on a rag, which is then inserted into the anus of the animal intended to be killed. Oleander was detected in the viscera of the female bodies which were completely burnt externally at the cremating place in Midnapur and Bhubneshwar (Puri) ,27 CERBERA THEVETIA OR THEVETIA NERIIFQLIA (EXILE OR YELLOW ft OLEANDER, PILA KANER) This is a plant belonging to N.O. Apocynaceae, and is widely cultivated as an ornamental shrub in gardens in the plains in India. It has linear lanceolate leaves, large, yellow bell-shaped flowers and a green, globular fruit containing a single nut, light brown in colour and triangular in shape with two cells, each enclosing a pale yellow seed. The plant is highly poisonous and contains as active principles two glycosides, namely, thevetin and cerberin. Both these glycosides reside in the milky juice which exudes from all parts of the plant. Thevetin, C27H84Ot2j is sparingly soluble in water, but dissolves readily in ether and choroform, and melts at 178°C. It is highly poisonous and, when injected into the dorsal lymph sac of a frog, produces convulsions and death. The minimum fatal dose for a frog weigh- ing about ten grammes is one-fiftieth of a milligramme. Ten milligrammes injected into a dog weighing about three kilogrammes produces defecation, vomiting with retching, frothy salivation, paresis of the hind limbs and ter- minal spasms, and causes death in about ninety minutes. Cerberin, CooHaaOu, is freely soluble in water and alcohol but insoluble in ether, benzene or chloroform, and is also toxic, the lethal dose for a frog weighing about ten grammes being about one-fortieth of a milligramme. Eight milli- grammes injected into a dog weighing about three kilogrammes produces frothing at the mouth, retching with vomiting and collapse, and causes death within an hour. Its paralytic action is not so well marked as that of nerin or thevetin.28 Ghatak29 isolated from the kernels of the seeds of yellow oleander, two glycosides, thevetin and thevetoxin. The first glycoside was obtained in snow-white, slender needles melting at 192 °C, by recrystallization from 26. Bombay Chemical Analyser's Annual Report, 1927, p. 5. 27. Bengal Chemical Examiner's Annual Report, 1923. 28. S. R. Naidu et al, Jour, and Proc. Irist Chem., Vol. XV, Dec. 1943, pp, 134-144. 29. Bull. Aca,d. Science, U.P., 1932, II, No. 2.