How do people poison themselves?

FAQ Poisonous plants - you should know that


Are there special features by which I can recognize poisonous plants?

No, unfortunately there is no rule of thumb for this. This is also the cause of poisoning. We intuitively perceive some abnormalities in the plants as supposedly poisonous. This can be the color, for example. It is not for nothing that "poison green" is often spoken of - a fallacy. Red berries are also not generally poisonous.

As a rule, poisonous plants are recognized through so-called empirical knowledge. Children learn this empirical knowledge from their parents or other relatives, educators or teachers.


When is a plant poisonous?

Plants are called poisonous if they have a harmful effect on living beings, explains Prof. Dr. Frank Hellwig from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. The dose makes the poison. This applies to medicines, but also to alcohol, which is ultimately plant-based. With alcohol in particular, it has been shown that indulgence can easily turn into serious physical harm.


Poisonous plants in the home and garden: what should I watch out for?

If you have poisonous plants in your home or garden, you should definitely keep them out of the reach of children and pets. This doesn't just apply to Potted plants(like Monstera, Einblatt or Dieffenbachia), but also for Cut flowers and Kitchen spices(like cinnamon). Because these can also be poisonous. Talk to your children or grandchildren about which plants and spices can be poisonous. Explain why these are dangerous. Don't forget your pets too: Chocolate can be fatal to dogs - so keep it safe.

If you are given a gift or buy a poisonous plant: Make a note of the plant's Latin name. Small labels provide information about this on freshly purchased plants. Put the name (or if you have several poisonous plants: the names) in a central place so that you, a nanny or dog sitter can know what the plant is called in an emergency. In this way, the poison emergency service can help you better and, above all, faster.


If I have children or pets: should I avoid poisonous plants in the house and garden?

Yes, says Prof. Frank Hellwig. In households with small children or animals, plants that we know are poisonous should ideally not be allowed into the home or garden in the first place. If a leaf of the Monstera is chewed, it can lead to attacks of suffocation, for example. Oleander, on the other hand, can be fatal to cats: two to three leaves are enough.

Hellwig also points out that we only know about half a percent of all plants whether they are poisonous - or not. There is of course always a certain residual risk, even if all known poisonous plants are avoided.