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Most Delicious Poison, the Story of Nature's Toxins

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Inspired by his father’s love of the natural world and his eventual spiral into the depths of addiction, evolutionary biologist Noah Whiteman explores how we came to use – and abuse – these chemicals.

Delving into the mysterious origins of plant and fungal toxins, and their unique human history, Most Delicious Poison provides a kaleidoscopic tour of nature’s most delectable and dangerous poisons.


Scratch the surface of a coffee bean, a chilli flake or an apple seed and find a bevy of strange chemicals – biological weapons in a war raging unseen. Here, beetles, birds, bats and butterflies must navigate a minefield of specialised chemicals and biotoxins, each designed to maim and kill.

And yet these chemicals, evolved to repel marauding insects and animals, have now become an integral part of our everyday lives. Some we use to greet our days (caffeine) and titillate our tongues (capsaicin), others to bend our minds (psilocybin) and take away our pains (opioids).

Format: hardcover

Print length: 304 pages

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Product type Books
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