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mithridatism image from New Medical Terms

Mithridates VI



A popular term for tolerance of a toxin which is deliberately induced by gradually increasing its concentration, a technique likened to tolerisation therapy used in allergy medicine. 

Named after Mithridates VI–131-63 BC, king of ancient Pontus. His stormy lifestyle and penchant for expediting the permanent departure of friends and family made him understandably concerned that he would be poisoned. He consumed ever-increasing doses of his antidote, which consisted of various poisonous ingredients, including the blood from ducks that had been raised on poisonous plants. Fearing the wrath of his revolting army, he tasked his own bodyguard with killing him (see image), as he was “immune” to poison. Grigori Rasputin–1872-1916, the “mad monk”of czarist Russia is thought to have ingested increasing amounts of strychnine for this purpose.



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