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What is "Zombinol" and what are its actions?
Q: I've just finished watching the movie The Serpent and the Rainbow, and the subject of the drug Zombinol intrigued me. I can't find any references to its pharmacology online (only a handful of vague references to it), but I have seen it mentioned alongside Datura and a poisonous toad, yet neither of these drugs induce the death-like state attributed to Zombinol. What is the chemical known as zombinol, and what is its pharmacology?

A: Zombinol is a fictional substance. The account of its use in the book/movie The Serpent and the Rainbow is a fictionalized version of some Wade Davis's experiences and research in the Caribbean.



Zombinol is a fictional name used for an actual substance that that Wade
Davis wrote about in the book The Serpent and the Rainbow. The actual
substance that Wade Davis believed caused the zombification was
Tetrodotoxin, a deadly pufferfish toxin. Other substances that Wade Davis
said he identified in the "Zombi Drug" included "Zombi cucumber" which is
the Haitian name for Datura metal or Datura Stromonium and human remains.
Of course Davis's idea that tetrodotoxin was the chemical that was mostly
responsible for the zombification ended up getting a bunch of criticism
from other scientists such as C.Y. Yao and William H. Anderson, who said
that the pufferfish toxin would have been rendered inactive in the
process of preparing the "Zombi drug" and called Davis a fraud.

As for the pharmacology of tetrodotoxin it is a, Selective inhibitor of
Na+ channel conductance in the nerve cells. It also acts on the central
and the peripheral nervous systems and stimulates the chemoreceptor
trigger zone in the medulla oblongata and depresses the respiratory and
vasomotor centers in that area. It is lethal to humans at a dose of
1-2mg. Other chemicals that are found in the Zombi drug, such as atropine
and scopolamine already have a large amount of info on them in the Datura
vault of Erowid. I have also read another more recent theory that the
"Zombi drug" contained a poison taken from the skin of a local frog.
Which could be Bufotenin (5-HO-DMT)perhaps although I'm not sure as the
article didn't mention which frog ?

Asked By : allinyourhead
Answered By : psilo
Published Date : 11 / 12 / 2002
Last Edited Date : 1 / 13 / 2011
Question ID : 3018

Categories: [ Pharmacology ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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