Fish toxins or fish stupefying plants have historically been used by many hunter gatherer cultures to stun fish, so they become easy to collect by hand. Some of these toxins paralyse fish, which can then be easily collected.[1] The process of documenting many fish toxins and their use is ongoing, with interest in potential uses from medicine, agriculture, and industry.[2]


Use of the herbal fish poisons has been documented in a number of sources involving catching fish from fresh and sea water.[3]

Tribal people historically used various plants for medicinal and food exploitation purposes.[4] Use of fish poisons is a very old practice in the history of humankind. In 1212 AD, King Frederick II prohibited the use of certain plant piscicides, and by the 15th century, similar laws had been decreed in other European countries, as well.[5] All over the globe, indigenous people use various fish poisons to kill fish, including America[6] and among Tarahumara Indians.[7][full citation needed]

Herbal fish-stupefying agents are proven means of fishing. Many of these plants have been used for a long time by local people, and have been tested and found to have medicinal properties, such as Careya arborea, which is used as analgesic[8] and antidiarrheal.[9] Some of the plants, such as C. collinus, are traditional poisons used in the different part of the country.[10][11] Bark extracts of Lannea coromandelica caused lysis of cell membranes followed by fragmentation of cellular materials.

Example plants

Odcha at fruiting

See also


  1. ^ Ethnozoology of the Tsou People: Fishing with poison.
  2. ^ Jeremy, 2002
  3. ^ A.L. Dahl (1985) Traditional Environmental Management in New Caledonia: A Review of Existing Knowledge
  4. ^ V. Singh (ed) (2007) Indian Folk Medicines and Other Plant-Based Products. Jodhpur Scientific Publications. Chapter 22 ISBN 81-7233-481-8
  5. ^ Wilhelm 1974
  6. ^ Jeremy 2002
  7. ^ Gajdusek 1954
  8. ^ Ahmed et al. 2002
  9. ^ Rahman et al. 2003
  10. ^ Sarathchandra and Balakrishnamurthy 1997
  11. ^ Thomas et al. 1991
  12. ^ Neuwinger, H.D. (Sep 2004). "Plants used for poison fishing in tropical Africa". Toxicon. 44 (4): 417–30. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2004.05.014. PMID 15302524.
  13. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) California Buckeye: Aesculus californica,, N. Stromberg ed. Archived February 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Campbell, Paul (1999). Survival skills of native California. Gibbs Smith. p. 433. ISBN 978-0-87905-921-7.
  15. ^ Chesnut, Victor King (1902). Plants Used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Washington DC, USA: U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 363–364. Retrieved 18 June 2023.
  16. ^ Pomar, L. 1901 An Account of the Fishing Industry in Chile, Pan American Exposition Publication IV, pub. Imprenta Moderna, Santiago. Page 33.
  17. ^ Plowman, Timothy, Gyllenhaal, Lars Olof and Lindgren, Jan Erik "Latua pubiflora magic plant from southern Chile" Botanical Museum Leaflets Harvard University Vol. 23, No. 2, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 12, 1971
  18. ^ a b c d e Smith, N. M. (1991-01-01). "ETHNOBOTANICAL FIELD NOTES FROM THE NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA". Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. 14 (1): 1–65.
  19. ^ Rashtra Vardhana (2006). Floristic plants of the world. Sarup & Sons. ISBN 978-81-7625-651-3.