Cardiac Glycoside Plants Self-Poisoning

Open access


Cardiac glycosides are found in a diverse group of plants including Digitalis purpurea and Digitalis lanata (foxgloves), Nerium oleander, Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley), Strophanthus gratus, etc. Nerium Oleander is an indoor and ornamental plant of an evergreen shrub. It’s widespread in countries with a Mediterranean climate. Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants known to humans. All parts of the nerium oleander are poisonous, primarily due to the contained cardiac glycosides - oleandrin, nerin, digitoxigenin, and olinerin of which oleandrin is the principal toxin. The bark contains the toxic substances of rosagenin which causes strychnine-like effects. Signs of poisoning appear a few hours after the adoption of the parts of the plant. Two cases of Nerium Oleander poisoning were presented. Clinical picture included gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and central nervous system effects. The clinical symptoms were characterized by nausea, vomiting, salivation, colic, diarrhoea, ventricular tachycardia, dysrhythmia, heart block, ataxia, drowsiness, muscular tremor. Treatment included administration of activated charcoal, symptomatic and supportive care.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. Bessen H. A. Therapeutic and toxic effects of digitalis: William Withering 1785. - J. Emerg. Med. 4 1986 № 3 243.

  • 2. Bourgeois B. P. Incagnoli J. Hanna etV. Tirard. Traitement par anticorps antidigitalique d’une intoxication volontaire par laurier rose. - Annales Françaises d’Anesthésie et de Réanimation 24 2005 № 6 640-642.

  • 3. Camphausen C. N. A. Haas et A. C. Mattke. Successful treatment of oleander intoxication (cardiac glycosides) with digoxin-specifi c Fab antibody fragments in a 7-year-old child. - Zeitschrift für Kardiologie 94 2005 № 12 817-823.

  • 4. Graeme K. Toxic plant ingestions. In: Auerbach PS ed. Wilderness Medicine Chapter 58 5th Ed. Philadelphia Pa: Mosby Elsevier 2007.

  • 5. Hostetler M. et S. Schreiber. Poisonous plants. In: Tintinalli JE Kelen GD Stapczynski JS Ma OJ Cline DM eds. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. Chapter 205 6th ed. New York NY: McGraw-Hill 2004.

  • 6. LeCouteur D. G. et A. A. Fisher. Chronic and criminal administration of Nerium oleander. - J. Toxicol. Clin. Toxicol. 40 2002 № 4 523-524.

  • 7. Sharma P. et al. Chemical Constituents of Plants from the Genus Nerium. - Chemistry & Biodiversity 7 2010 № 5 1198-1207.

  • 8. Langford S. D. et P. J. Boor. Oleander toxicity: an examination of human and animal toxic exposures. - Toxicology 109 1996 № 1 1-13.

  • 9. Senthilkumaran S. et al. (2011). Electrocardiographic changes during inhalational oleander toxicity. - J. Electrocardiol. 44 2011 № 4 470-472.

  • 10. Wasfi I. et al. (2008). A fatal case of oleandrin poisoning. - Forensic Science Int. 179 2008 № 2-3 e31-36.

Journal information
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 366 220 10
PDF Downloads 157 115 12