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Poisonous plants 

Poisonous plants
Chapter:
Poisonous plants
Author(s):

Michael Eddleston

, and Hans Persson

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0216
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date: 02 March 2021

Many plants contain toxic substances—heterogeneous in chemical composition and diverse in toxic effects. When classifying plant poisonings, a pragmatic approach is to look at the main clinical effects, but it should be emphasized that few plant toxins produce just one type of symptom and that symptomatology is often multiple, with some features predominating. Ingestion of, or contact with, poisonous plants is common but serious plant poisoning is rare worldwide because most plant exposures are accidental: the majority occur in small children, the ingested dose is usually small, and no treatment is required. Treatment of severe plant poisoning includes careful decontamination and symptomatic and supportive care. Specific antidotes are only available for poisoning by plants containing belladonna alkaloids (physostigmine), cardiac glycosides (digoxin-specific Fab fragments), and cyanogenic agents (dicobalt edetate, hydroxocobalamin).

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