What Is Pokeweed


 Pokeweed Is Much More Than A Poison

Summer is a great way to go out, enjoy the sun and nature, and explore the world with its comfortable weather. Majority of people participate in activities done outdoors such as gardening, hiking, and camping. Although it offers limitless outdoor splendors, it is also the time of the year when there are high cases of people’s susceptibility to toxins from poisonous plants.

Depending on which part of the plant you’re dealing with, it is more lethal than most other common poisonous plants, like poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac; It may not give you as bad of a rash as casual contact with these others will, but children are more likely to try to eat the berries and leaves, which are toxic.  Native to North America, they are invasive. The plant has broad, green leaves with reddish veins and tall stalks of white flowers that mature to dark red berries. From the roots and stalks that are toxic, the leaves and berries also carry ample toxin amounts to cause severe ailments or even death.

 Pokeweed: Edible & Medicinal Uses

The young spring leaves and stems only are eaten by some American cultures after boiling them in two changes of water. It’s said that they taste like spinach. Early settlers used it as poultice for skin diseases, sores, ulcers and tumors. Young stems are taken to induce vomiting and treat rheumatic and arthritic conditions. Herbalists and naturopaths have used the berries and tincture of the root for urinary tract infections.  However, due to the dangerous nature of the plant, even experienced herbalists and naturopaths strongly warn against consuming this in any capacity without supervision.  Depending on how the tincture is prepared, taking more than 1 drop can make you deathly ill or even cause death.

Pokeweed Poison Symptoms

Eating just 10 berries can give you headache, abdominal pain and severe diarrhea, however this number is lessened if the seeds are chewed, which releases the toxins much faster than normal digestion.  Let’s say you don’t intend to cook it as you carried your cans of beans for camping, but still try to avoid touching your skin with it. The juice of the plant can cause rashes and discomfort. The rashes can appear within a few hours after contact and although it will not leave any scratch marks, it can take 1-2 weeks before it goes away. Some people also suffer from allergic reactions caused by the sap.

Upon touching the sap, thoroughly wash the area with warm, soapy water. Discard the clothing you may have the sap on too. Then, try not to scratch it. In contrast with what others think, you will not get the rash by touching another person’s rash but only from touching the sap.

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