Poisonous houseplants

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Pot of English Ivy
Many common houseplants can be harmful to your health
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Houseplants are a beautiful way to bring the outdoors in and to decorate home and work decors. In addition to improving aesthetics, indoor plants make the environment healthier by removing toxins and carbon dioxide from the air and replacing them with oxygen. Beneficial as they are, many common houseplants can be harmful to your health and to that of your children and pets. However, if you plan on having plants in your home, learning how to care for your house plants is an excellent article to read. The following are poisonous houseplants that you should be aware of in order to protect your family.

Aloe Vera is a plant well known for its healing capabilities. The gel within the leaves can be used to soothe burns, cuts and other skin problems however many would be surprised to learn that the juices of the Aloe Vera plant are toxic. Consuming it can irritate the large intestine and for sensitive individuals even handling the Aloe Vera plant can cause dermatological irritation. When in contact with this plant you should cut away the outer skin and inner layer of yellow juice, exposing yourself to the gel only.

English Ivy is a plant that is common in both outdoor and indoor environments. The leaves of this plant are poisonous and contain the toxins, didehydroflacarinol, falcarinol and hederasporins. Symptoms of ingestion include difficulty breathing, vomiting, convulsions, paralysis and coma.

Rosary pea is another common houseplant that is considered poisonous. The plant has pea shaped pods with small, red seeds inside. These seeds are toxic and if chewed can cause serious illness and death, even in small amounts. Symptoms begin several hours after ingestion and include excessive saliva, diarrhea, vomiting, and convulsions.

Rhododendrons and their dwarf size counterparts, called Azaleas are poisonous houseplants. The entire plant is toxic, although it would take consumption of many leaves to cause serious harm. Symptoms include nausea, breathing problems and digestive upset.

Chrysanthemums, better known as mums, are also poisonous. The leaves and stalks contain the toxin Arteglasin A, which can cause contact dermatitis with extended exposure.

The leaves and buds of Hydrangeas are poisonous and when ingested can cause vomiting, abdominal pains, diarrhea, labored breathing, lethargy and coma. Dermatitis can also occur from handling the plant.

During the holiday season, many people decorate their homes with Poinsettias and Mistletoe. Although beautiful, both plants are poisonous and can cause illness. The leaves and stems of the festive Poinsettia contain toxic latex. If ingested, this latex can cause nausea and vomiting. In addition, the sap of a poinsettia can cause severe irritation of the mouth. Mistletoe is also poisonous. The berries on this kissing plant are highly toxic. Proper supervision of your children and pets is suggested when Poinsettias and Mistletoe are present.

Philodendrons are poisonous houseplants. The leaves and juices of this plant are toxic and contain calcium oxalate. Symptoms of poisoning include erythema (reddening and inflammation of the skin) and itchiness.

Amaryllis bulbs are poisonous and if consumed in large quantities, can cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Calla Lilies, although beautiful, can cause swelling and burning of the mouth and throat if its leaves are ingested.

One of the most poisonous houseplants is oleander. All parts of the plant are extremely toxic and in fact, consumption of a single leaf is potentially lethal. Symptoms include dizziness, drowsiness, increased pulse rates, abdominal pain, weakness, cold extremities and nausea. If ingested, seek medical attention immediately.

Although there are numerous poisonous houseplants, most will only cause harm if directly ingested. Be sure to use caution when bringing these plants into your home, especially if you have children or pets that might be tempted to sample a leaf or two. In addition, place plants out of reach of small hands to ensure that dermatologic irritation from handling does not occur.

Knowing the potential dangers of poisonous houseplants will help you keep you and your family safe and healthy.

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