Native tribes obtained
a thick liquid from its seeds, containing the poison. They dipped the end
of the arrows in it, so they were even able to kill an animal sometimes.
Europeans got acquainted
with the plant after botanist Dr. Kirk brushed his teeth one fateful morning
He was particularly interested in the poisonous weapons of the tribes and
collected arrows in a bag, where he kept personal belongings such as his
toothbrush for example. The collection grew large enough to be placed elsewhere.
That particular morning, he felt a strong heartbeat and concluded it had
been because of the arrows.
In 1885, the English investigator
Fraser extracted a glycoside named strophantin, which quickly found application
in cardiology, but it has now been replaced by more sophisticated medicines.