Testa or coat of the seed contains toxic chemicals. The seeds are heart-shaped and black. The peri seed coat carp yields brownish oily juice which is irritant to the skin and contains the active principles, semicarpol and bhilawanol. On exposure to air, the juice turns blackish. The juice is used by the laundries to inscribe identification number on clothes.
Fatal dose – 6-8 seeds.
Fatal period –12 – 24 hours.
Signs and symptoms – When spilt over the skin, there is bruise-like painful lesions with marginal small blisters. The lesions itch and may ulcerate.
When taken internally by mouth, there is burning pain in the throat and abdomen with blister formation in the throat some times. There may be dyspnoea, cyanosis, rapid pulse, fall of blood pressure, loss of reflexes. Death may be preceded by delirium and coma.
Treatment – To wash the contaminated part of the skin with soap water. To give demulcent drink and symptomatic treatment.
Postmortem appearance – Externally, bruise-like lesions with surrounding small blisters may be noticed near the angle of the mouth or on the lips, if juice is swallowed. Internally, inflammation and blister formation may be seen in the pharynx and oesophagus. The stomach may be highly congested. Other organs are congested. Liver may show early degenerative change.
Medicolegal aspects – The juice has quackary medicinal use and that way accidental poisoning may occur. Suicidal and homicidal uses are uncommon. The juice may be spilt on the body to cause injury and annoyance. It is used as a local abortifacient agent. The juice is used externally, to produce bruise like lesion and frame a false charge of assault against an enemy.
|Points||Bruise||Lesion due to semicarpus juice|
|Margin||diffused||sharp and clear|
|Swelling||present||absent in some cases|
|Colour change||occurs||does not occur|
|Blisters||absent||present on the margin|
|Cause||rupture of subcutaneous capillaries||chemical damage of the skin|
|Extravasation in the tissue||present||absent|
|Nail beds||nothing significant||similar lesion due to itching|