ANTIDOTES are agents used to counteract the effects of toxic substances or overdose with drugs. They are used in a wide variety of circumstances and can work in many ways. First, where the poison works by stimulating, or over-stimulating, a distinct set of pharmacological receptors, treatment is normally straightforward since the use of an appropriate receptor antagonist can be used to reduce or completely block the effects of the poison. For example, naloxone is an opioid receptor ANTAGONIST and can be used as an antidote to an overdose by a wide range of a opioid receptor agonists, including the narcotic analgesics diamorphine (heroin), morphine, methadone and pethidine. It is quick-acting and effectively reverses the respiratory depression, coma or convulsions that result from such an overdose; also, it can be used at the end of operations to reverse respiratory depression caused by narcotic analgesics and in newborn babies. Second, poisoning by some toxic substances is effectively counteracted by an antidote that binds to the poison, rendering it relatively inert and facilitating its excretion. For example, a CHELATING AGENT can be used as an antidote to metal poisoning, where it has a high affinity for those Read more […]


ASH (Fraxinus excelsior) Yggdrasil, the tree of the universe of Scandinavian mythology, is generally supposed to have been an ash (see Yggdrasil), the tree upon which Odin hanged himself in his quest for wisdom. According to Hesiod, the men of the third age of the world (the Bronze Age) grew from the ash tree, and Teutonic mythology has it that the first men came from this tree. Ash and human birth are linked in many ways. In the Highlands, at the birth of a child, the midwife used to put a green ash stick into the fire, and while it was burning, let the sap drop into a spoon. This was given as the first spoonful of liquor to the newborn baby. It is said that it was given as a guard against witches, or against the evil eye. The mythology claimed that the fruit of Yggrdrasil ensures safe childbirth. When Ragnarok draws near, it was said the ash tree will tremble, and a man and woman who hide in it, Lif and Lifthrasir, will survive the ensuing holocaust and flood. They stand alone at the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. From these two, the earth will be re-peopled, and Yggrdrasil itself will survive Ragnarok. In other words, Yggdrasil is the source of all new life. The Irish tree, Bile Tortan, one of Read more […]