[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A sensitive method for the identification and quantitation of the toxic alkaloids strychnine and brucine from postmortem specimens has been established. After solid-phase extraction using Oasis MCX cartridges the extracts were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography with diode-array detection. The limit of detection was 0.5 ng/mL blood for strychnine and brucine, and the limit of quantitation was 5 ng/mL blood for strychnine and brucine. The method was applied for the analysis of blood and gastric contents of a 34-year-old female who died after ingestion of a packet of herbal medicine powder containing the seeds of Strychnos nux-vomica L. Strychnine and brucine were detected in all the samples. The concentration in our case is consistent with that in previous reports.