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Common Indian poisonous plants 

Common Indian poisonous plants

Common Indian poisonous plants

V.V. Pillay


July 30, 2015: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

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date: 29 April 2017

Common poisonous plants encountered in India include (1) irritant plants, e.g. castor, colocynth, croton, glory lily, marking nut, mayapple, red pepper, rosary pea; (2) cardiotoxic plants, e.g. aconite, autumn crocus, common oleander, yellow oleander, suicide tree; (3) neurotoxic plants, e.g. calotropis, cassava, chickling pea, datura, strychnos; (4) hepatotoxic plants, e.g. neem; and (5) miscellaneous toxic plants and plant products, including arecanut, Cleistanthus collinus, and physic nut.

Accidental poisoning with some of these plants or plant products may occur among inhabitants of rural areas, dependent on their farms and gardens for food, due to mistakes in identifying toxic plants, with children being at particular risk. Contamination of foodstuffs and the use of poisonous plants in traditional or folk medicine are other causes of poisoning. Suicide using poisonous plants is fairly common in India, especially in rural areas, most typically with the cardiac glycoside containing fruits of yellow oleander or the suicide tree Cerbera odollam, both of which are rarely employed in homicide.

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