Here is a list of POISONOUS PLANTS throughout the
UNITED STATES for those open minded people who do
not really believe that all herbs are for human or even animal
consumption, and can comprehend the fact that many herbs are poisonous.
I'm not going to go into the description of these plants, you can usually get a good colored picture with descriptions
from other books and online. However, many books and
often online information do not even state if the plant is
poisonous or not. So, I'm going to go through as many plants that I can find and think of and just give the common names of the plants, the Latin names, other plants that may
be related, where they are most apt to grow and the dangerous part of the plant and symptoms of poisoning.
YOU MAY EMAIL ME FOR A PDF FORMAT AND I WILL GLADLY SEND IT TO YOU.
THIS IS PART 5 and the last of this series:
POKE WEED/ROOT Phytolacca americana L.) of the poke weed family a/k/a poke root, poke salad (or poke sallet), poke berry, poke, Virginia poke, inkberry, cancer root, American nightshade, pigeon berry
MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING Pokeweed is found from Maine to Minnesota and southward, and is fairly common in southern and southeastern Iowa. Usually, it grows in rich pasture lands, in recently cleared areas, along fencerows, and in waste places and open spots in woodlands.
USES: Proponents claim that pokeweed can be taken internally to treat a number of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, tonsillitis, mumps, swollen glands, chronic excess mucus, bronchitis, mastitis, and constipation.
They also say that the herb is an effective treatment for fungal
infections, joint inflammation, hemorrhoids, breast abscesses, ulcers, and bad breath. Herbalists also claim that external
application of a preparation made from the plant relieves itching, inflammation, and skin diseases.
DANGER: All parts of the pokeweed are poisonous, particularly the roots. The leaves and stems
are next in toxicity, and the berries have the smallest amount of poison. The entire pokeweed plant
contains a poisonous substance similar to saponin. The alkaloid phytolaccine also occurs in
small amounts However, children have been poisoned by eating raw pokeweed berries, and some
have died. The practice of brewing pokeweed plant parts with hot water to make tea has caused poisoning. Thoroughly cooking the plant reduces its toxicity.
SYMPTOMS:The effects of eating the uncooked or improperly prepared plant can include
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches, blurred vision, confusion, dermatitis,
dizziness, and weakness. Convulsions, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, heart block (a
blockage of the electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to contract), and death may occur. If
taken internally, pokeweed is a slow acting but a violent emetic. Vomiting usually starts about 2
hours after the plant or parts of it have been eaten. Severe cases of poisoning result in purging, spasms, and sometimes convulsions. If death occurs, it is usually due to paralysis of the respiratory organs.
CAUTION: BE VERY WARY OF ANY HERBALIST
WHO GROWS AND SELLS THIS HERB. They are
not knowledable enough to differentiate between safe
and unsafe herbs
POINSETTIA (Poinsettia pulcherrima R. Grah) other related plants ornatmentals such as E. Marginata (snow on the mountain), E. Cyparissias (Cypress spurge), E. Milli Ch. Des Moulins
(crown of thorns cactus), E. Lactea Haw. (Candelabra cactus) and E. Tirucalli L. (pencil, Malabar or spurge trees) also contains irritant juice and are potentially dangerous.
MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING as a houseplant or in greenhouses throughout the temperate zone, frequently used for winter decoration because of its showy red bracts. Native to tropical Mexico and Central America
DANGER young children have ready access to this house plant. The leaf is what appears to be poisonous.
SYMPTOMS prior to death the symptoms were vomiting and purgation of the bowels accompanied by delirium. The milky sap is capable of producing blistering of the skin and gastroenteritis.
ROSARY PEA/ PRECATORY BEAN ( Abrus precatorius L)
MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING in the southern US as a tropical plant or ornamental. Necklaces and trinkets made with the seeds were formerly common in North America, Britain and Europe. It is now banned in many places but may still be encountered.
DANGER the seeds are very toxic, less than one seed contains enough abrin to kill an adult.
SYMPTOMS: at first gastrointestinal, with purging and temperature fluctuations followed by incoordination and paralysis. Many different tissues are found to be damaged during post mortem examinations.
CAUTION: growing plants, seeds and any objects containing the seeds should be considered highly dangerous.
RHUBARB (R.xcultorum or Rheum Rhaponicum)) of the Buckwheat family This is the rhubarb that grows in your garden.
There is another RHUBARB that appear to grown in China or Turkey and is known as medicinal rhubarbs. They are R. palmatum and R. officinale also members of the buckwheat family.
MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING commonly cultivated as a food plant for its edible petioles in Britain, Europe and North America. The original plant was probably from Siberia.
DANGER The leaf blades contain dangerous quantities of oxalic acid and soluble oxalates and have caused deaths when eaten as a vegetable, even when small quantities were consumed
SYMPTOMS ingestion of large amounts of raw or cooked leaf blades can cause severe abdominal pains and cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness, labored breathing, internal bleeding,
reduced urine formation, convulsions and coma followed rapidly by death. Blood clotting is reduced, probably due to combination with plasma calcium to form oxalates.
CAUTION: The only part that can be safely consumed safely is the reddish stem.
BE VERY WARY OF ANYONE WHO CLAIMS TO BE KNOWLEDABLE OF HERBS AND USES RHUBARB AND DOES NOT STATE IF IT IS
(R.xcultorum or Rheum Rhaponicum or R. palmatum and R. officinale AS A MEDICINAL.
SPURGE LAUREL/MEZEREON (Daphne mezereum L) other related pants: D.laureola L has blue/black fruit and persistent leaves. D. cneorum L has orange and D genkwa Sieb & Zucc. white fruits
MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING commonly grown as an ornamental in gardens and used by flower arrangers in Europe, Britain and North America.
DANGER the fruit especially, but other parts as well. The juice of the plant is a primary irritant and produces burning and inflammation of the mouth and throat.
SYMPTOMS: Severe gastroenteritis occurs with vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Weakness, stupor, renal damage with hematuria and convulsions may occur before death
CAUTION: HIGHLY DANGEROUS
TRUMPET FLOWER/ Chalice vine (Solandra guttata Don.) other related plants: most of the six or so species of SOLANDRA are considered toxic
MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING commonly cultivated outdoors in the warmer parts of the US and in greenhouses elsewhere in North America, Europe and Britain, Native to Mexico
DANGER the plant contains solanine type alkaloids and may produce poisoning if eaten.
SYMPTOMS: dry throat, headache, weakness, fever, delirium, hallucinations and circulatory and respiratory failure. Death has occurred from chewing fragments of the flowers.
WILD BLACK CHERRY (Prunus serotina Ehrh) other related plants: the fruit stones of nearly all species of Prunus are considered toxic--including many with edible fruits
such as apricot, peach, bitter almond, cherry laurel and wild cherry due to the presence of cyanide producing glycosides.
MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING found in woods and hedges in the eastern US and Canada.
DANGERS children have been poisoned and died from eating the kernels which contain a cyanogenetic glycoside. The leaves are also toxic. The amount of other food eaten greatly influences the amount of cyanide absorbed. In small amounts the blood may remain red even in the veins, due to upsetting of the normal use of oxygen by the body tissues. In larger amount a short period of rapid breathing is followed by collapse and death.
CAUTION they should never be eaten like nuts
VIRGINIA CREEPER /WOODBINE (Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L) A member of the grape family.
MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING in the US, Britain and Europe. Is commonly cultivated in gardens and around houses.
DANGER: the berries have proved to be toxic among both animals and humans
You can find excellant quality and very safe herbs, herb teas, bath herbs and salves in my store here on LOCAL HARVEST!
Local Harvest.com . Look for
SPICES & HERBS BY ELAYNN
From the book DANGEROUS PLANTS BY JOHN TAMPION
101 Medicinal Herbs by Steven Foster
The Honest Herbal by Varro E Tyler
Dr. James Duke, formerly chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Medicinal Plant Resources Laboratory
The 'PDR for Herbal Medicines'
Natural Standard Professional Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com).
The American cancer society www.cancer.org/treatment
Contributor Information and Disclosures Author Daniel E Brooks, MD Co-Medical Director, Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center, Department of Medical Toxicology, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center