Apr 30, 2010, 10:56:00 PM4/30/10
to Gurcharan Singh, tanay bose, Yazdy Palia, Neil Soares, indiantreepix
Dieffenbachia is a well known poisonous plant. Although fatal cases are rare. Information on this plant can be found in medical books that include poisoning cases.
The name Dumb Cane reflects the fact that the acrid sap will burn the mouth and numb the throat to the extent that it may even paralyze the vocal cords. The plant should not be used around small children who are likely to put things in their mouths.
The cells of the Dieffenbachia plant contain needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals called
raphides. If a leaf is chewed, these crystals cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat; swelling can occur along with a temporary inability to speak, and from this effect the plants are commonly called dumb cane Chewing could result in death if swelling of the throat blocks the airway. Slaves were supposedly sometimes punished by having dieffenbachia put into their mouths . Young children (at the age where they regularly put things into their mouths) are at risk of suffocation and death if they eat or chew on Dieffenbachia leaves. These occurences are exceptionally rare. Some cats eat houseplants and flowers; they are similarly at risk.
* Burning in mouth or throat
* Damage to cornea of the eye
* Eye pain
* Hoarse voice
* Nausea or vomiting
* Swelling in mouth or tongue
For those who want to know more details, this might be a useful paper.
Dieffenbachia: Uses, abuses and toxic constituents: A review
Joseph Ardittia and Eloy Rodrigueza
Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Volume 5, Issue 3, May 1982, Pages 293-302
Dr. Aparna Watve
Dr. Aparna Watve
Asha Appt, Shanti Nagar, Ekata Colony
Nr. BSNL tower, Akbar Ward,
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