Toxicomania-2023: ‘Beware indoor plants. They may be poisonous’ - Hindustan Times
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Toxicomania-2023: ‘Beware indoor plants. They may be poisonous’

ByGaurav Saigal, Lucknow
Sep 27, 2023 07:49 PM IST

Experts at the five-day toxicology event in Lucknow, averred that even accidental consumption may result in skin irritation, swelling in throat and mouth, choking and even kidney and liver failure

Fond of keeping ornamental plants in the drawing room? Beware! Several are toxic too, and even accidental consumption may result in skin irritation, swelling in throat and mouth, choking and even kidney and liver failure.

Indoor plants with toxins displayed in the exhibition by the forensic medicine and toxicology department. (HT Photo)
Indoor plants with toxins displayed in the exhibition by the forensic medicine and toxicology department. (HT Photo)

“The most common plants people keep indoors or in the balcony are Sago Palm, Diffenbechia or dumb canes, Monstera and Arrowhead. All of them and several other (indoor plants) have toxins,” said Dr Shiuli Rathore, faculty with the department of forensic medicine and toxicology, King George’s Medical University (KGMU).

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On the third day of Toxicomania-2023, on Wednesday, the event on toxicology, experts spoke about toxins people encounter every day but are unaware of.

“We have toddlers at home who touch and feel everything they see and take it to their mouth. In such homes, indoor plants should be kept out of reach of children,” said Dr Anoop Verma, HoD, forensic medicine and toxicology.

“That sticky sap causes skin irritation on consumption by humans and pets, and it could lead to organ damage too. Sago Palm is entirely poisonous causing up to liver failure if consumed,” said Dr Rathore. Arrowhead sap is poisonous too, she said.

Experts clarified that indoor plants do not ooze toxins by themselves but when consumed by humans or even by pets in house, they may fall sick. “Diffenbechia plant is also common in drawing rooms, but it causes irritation in the oral cavity and swelling in airway as it has calcium oxalate. In Monstera too, calcium oxalate is one primary component, and its excess can cause a choking-like feeling. “Excess of this toxin can cause kidney problems,” said Dr Rathore.

Doctors said those wishing to keep indoor plants should be aware of how these should be handled.

Beware of date rape drugs

LUCKNOW: Dr Maushmi Singh, faculty member, department of forensic medicine and toxicology, said, “Never take a drink from strangers when at a party. These days illegally obtained drugs are a threat. These drugs can make one forget for a short period whatever happens with them. These drugs are colourless and tasteless, therefore, girls should avoid taking drinks from unknown persons at a party,” Dr Singh said.

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