• Curare interacts with humans and other animals' skeletal muscles causing muscle relaxation and eventual  paralysis. This only occurs if the toxin enters the bloodstream.  Other organisms with similar results in humans are the Japanese Pufferfish, Portuguese Man of War, and the Jellyfish
  • Curare also has a commensalistic relationship with the trees of the rainforest in the Amazon Basin. The vine uses the tree to climb higher into the canopy to get to an area with more sunlight for photosynthesis.
  • The fruit of Chondrodendron tomentosum is eaten by some Indian tribes. It has a very bitter-sweet  taste.
  • Curare is mainly a producer and isn't really eaten by many animals.

Medicinal uses:

  • The active ingredient in "curaré", D-tubocurarine, is used in medicine. Brazilians consider the root a diuretic, and use it internally in small quantities for madness and dropsy, and externally for bruises. It is also used for edema (swelling), fever, poisonous snake bites, and kidney stones. Other organisms used to treat some of these conditions are the Purple Passionflower, P.Niruri, Opium Poppy, China Rose, and the Kiss Me Quick.

  • Curare is used in the U.S. mainly in anesthetics. It is sold as a prescription drug to patients undergoing surgeries where respiration can be controlled by machines.  It is also used to treat paralysis caused by tetanus. (for more information on tetanus click here.)

  • In homeopathy, curare is used to treat inflammation of the urinary tract and an enlarged prostate.

  • Maude Grieve, a British author, also wrote in his medical book that curare can be used as an antiseptic and may be a treatment for leucorrhea (white or yellowish vaginal discharge), rheumatism, jaundice, and gonorrhea.

  • There is research into D-tubocurarine's(curare) chemical pathways and actions for their role in  blocking serotonin, reducing vomiting, alleviating drug withdrawal symptoms, and for their anti-anxiety effects.

  • The roots and leaves are the main parts of the plant used in all of the above forms of medicine.

For more information about the tribal uses of this plant click HERE to go to a detailed description of uses and the chemicals involved. There are also more pictures available to view.

Take me Home                                                                                                  The Gallery is next