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What was in the Apple the Evil Queen gave to Snow White?

Updated: Oct 30

Did you ever wonder what poison the Evil Queen added to the apple she gave to Snow White?

“When she breaks the tender peel, to taste the apple in my hand, her breath will still, her blood congeal, then I’ll be the fairest in the land.”



Strong words from a woman bent on eliminating her competition. First, the Evil Queen performs a little chemistry in her laboratory to transform herself into an old woman—the old hag who later presents Snow White with the poisoned apple. Once in her disguise, she brews the concoction “Sleeping Death” in her cauldron then dips the apple in the potion to soak up the poison. And as any good chemist knows, she checks for the antidote. Those afflicted with “Sleeping Death” can be revived with “love’s first kiss.”


My guess is that the Evil Queen used tetrodotoxin (TTX). TTX is 1000 times more toxic than sodium cyanide and is a well-known marine toxin. Fugu poisoning is associated with the puffer fish since these tetraodons harbor the poison in their liver, ovaries, intestines, and skin. Licensed chefs know how to prepare this delicacy such that the diner experiences a tingling oral sensation and euphoria with minute amounts of TTX found in the flesh. Significant TTX poisoning produces hypotension and respiratory paralysis since the toxin blocks nerve and muscle impulse propagation. In the initial stages, the patient may appear comatose but has an intact sensorium. So a patient could look dead but not be dead. If the poisoning is not recognized, the risk is being buried alive.


I surmise that if the Evil Queen had ingredients of mummy’s dust, black of night, an old hag’s cackle, and a scream of fright, she also had some puffer fish in her lab. Luckily the seven dwarfs did not bury Snow White, and The Prince was able to administer the antidote. Happy Halloween.


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