Columbus' second expedition to Central America in 1493, stories of
poison-tipped arrows, and horrifying accounts of death and paralysis
soon reached Europe. The poison used to coat the arrows is now known as
curare, and is used as a skeletal muscle relaxant because of its action
on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor at the neuromuscular junction.
Curare has enchanted American and European botanists since its discovery
and was one of the first examples of plant extracts with medicinal valu