Molecule of the Week

D-Tubocurarine

February 11, 2013

D-Tubocurarine is an alkaloid that was isolated from the bark of the South American climbing vine Chondrodendron tomentosum by J. D. Dutcher in 1945. It is the active ingredient in curare, a poison first used by natives to coat hunting arrows to paralyze their prey. At one time, the skeletal muscle relaxant was used as an adjunct to anesthetics, but it has been replaced by safer drugs.

The Ian Fleming novel From Russia with Love ends when Rosa Klebb poisons James Bond with tetrodotoxin. In the ensuing Dr. No, Bond is treated for curare poisoning but survives nonetheless.

More about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.