Bufotoxins are a family of toxic steroid lactones. They occur in the parotoid glands, skin and poison of many toads (genus Bufo) and other amphibians, and in some plants and mushrooms. The exact composition varies greatly with the specific source of the toxin. It can contain: 5-MeO-DMT, bufagins, bufalin, bufotalin, bufotenin, bufothionine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. The term bufotoxin can also be used specifically to describe the conjugate of a bufagin with suberylargine.
The toxic substances found in toads can be divided by chemical structure in two groups:
- bufadienolides which are cardiac glycosides (e.g. bufotalin, bufogenin)
- tryptamine related substances (e.g. bufotenin)
Toads known to secrete bufotoxin are:
- Bufo alvarius
- Bufo americanus
- Bufo arenarum
- Bufo asper
- Bufo blombergi
- Bufo boreas
- Bufo bufo
- Bufo bufo gargarizans
- Bufo Gutturalis
- Bufo formosus
- Bufo fowleri
- Rhinella marina (formerly Bufo marinus)
- Bufo melanostictus
- Bufo peltocephalus
- Bufo quercicus
- Bufo regularis
- Bufo valliceps
- Bufo viridis
- Bufo vulgaris
Extract from the skin of certain Asian toads, such as Bufo bufo gargarizans and Bufo melanostictus, is often found in certain Chinese folk remedies. The Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China (ChP) considers the two species valid sources of toad venom (Chinese: 蟾酥; pinyin: Chánsū; Latin: bufonis venenum), and requires the dry product to contain at least 6% of cinobufagin and resibufogenin combined by weight. The extract is obtained by squeezing the parotoid glands of caught, washed toads for a white venom and drying; the final dried venom is usually brown, with a chunk or flake form.
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- Lincoff, Gary; Mitchel, Duane H. (1977). Toxic and Hallucinogenic Mushroom Poisoning: A Handbook for Physicians and Mushroom Hunters. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. ISBN 978-0-442-24580-1.
- Kißmer, B.; Wichtl, M. (1986). "Bufadienolide aus Samen von Helleborus odorus" [Bufadienolides from the Seeds of Helleborus odorus]. Planta Medica (in German). 52 (2): 152–3. doi:10.1055/s-2007-969103.
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- 国家药典委员会 (2015). 中华人民共和国药典 [Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China] (in Chinese). 1 (10 ed.). 中国医药科技出版社. p. 333. ISBN 9787506773379. entries: 蟾酥 bufonis venenum