Rabeya Nijhum: Conium maculatum or Poison Hemlock, was in the potion that killed Socrates. But in 16th century at the same time in Germany and in other European countries like England this plant was used as a medicine to cure Cancerous diseases like Tumor, pyuria. Today Conium maculatam is most commonly thought of in connection with a leading cause of death in modern world… ‘CANCER’.


Conium maculatum is the plant that killed Theramenes, Socrates and Phocion in ancient Greece, hemlock was used to poison condemned prisoners. Socrates, the most famous victim of hemlock poisoning, was accused of impiety and corrupting the young men of Athens in 399 BC, and his trial resulted in a death sentence. Although Socrates could have avoided death, he decided to take a potent infusion of the hemlock plant. Plato described Socrates’ death ..he said.. ‘The man … laid his hands on him and after a while examined his feet and legs, then pinched his foot hard and asked if he felt it. He said “No”; then after that, his thighs; and passing upwards in this way he showed us that he was growing cold and rigid. And then again he touched him and said that when it reached his heart, he would be gone. The chill had now reached the region about the groin, and uncovering his face, which had been covered, he said – and these were his last words – “Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Pay it and do not neglect it.” “That,” said Crito, “shall be done; but see if you have anything else to say.” To this question he made no reply, but after a little while he moved; the attendant uncovered him; his eyes were fixed. And Crito when he saw it, closed his mouth and eyes.

Conium maculatum is known by several common names. In addition to the British hemlock, the Australian carrot fern and the Irish devil’s bread or devil’s porridge, the following names are also used: poison parsley, spotted corobane, spotted hemlock, and poison hemlock. The dried stems are sometimes called kecksies Conium maculatum grows in damp areas, It is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including silver ground carpet. It has been introduced and naturalized in many other areas, including Asia, North America, Australia and New Zealand. The plant is often found in poorly drained soil, particularly near streams, ditches and other watery surfaces. It also appears on roadsides, edges of cultivated fields and waste areas and is considered an invasive species in 12 U.S States. According to Hahnemann Conium is one of those drugs of which it is exceedingly difficult to distinguish the primary & secondary effects.