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Poisons and Antidotes---In large doses it is an irritant poison, causing vomiting and hypercatharsis.
The berries have proved fatal to children. [A Modern Herbal; Mrs. M. Grieve]
Constituents---The acridity of the bark is chiefly due to mezeen, a greenish-brown, sternutatory, amorphous resin. Mezereic acid, into which it can be changed, is found in the alcoholic and ethereal extracts, together with a fixed oil, a bitter, crystalline glucoside, daphnin, and a substance like euphorbone. Daphnin can be resolved into daphnetin and sugar by the action of dilute acids.
Science. 1975 Feb 21;187(4177):652-3.
Mezerein: antileukemic principle isolated from Daphne mezereum L.
Kupchan SM, Baxter RL.
An alcohol-water extract of Daphne mezereum L., a plant widely used in folk medicine for treating cancers, showed antileukemic activity against the P-388 lymphocytic leukemia in mice. Systematic fractionation of the extract has led to isolation and characterization of mezerein as the principal antileukemic componen
Carcinogenesis. 1988 Mar;9(3):405-10.
Enhancement of mezerein-promoted papilloma formation by treatment with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate or mezerein prior to initiation.
Ewing MW, Crysup SE, Phillips JL, Slaga TJ, DiGiovanni J.
University of Texas System Cancer Center, Science Park-Research Division, Smithville 78957
J Nat Prod. 1988 Jul-Aug;51(4):662-74.
Irritant principles of the mezereon family (Thymelaeaceae), V. New skin irritants and tumor promoters of the daphnane and 1 alpha-alkyldaphnane type from Synaptolepis kirkii and Synaptolepis retusa.
Adolf W, Seip EH, Hecker E, Dossaji SF.
German Cancer Research Center, Institute of Biochemistry, Heidelberg