Oleander – Nerium oleander

Oleander flower
Oleander flower

Love cautiously, the Oleander,
from a distance, behold its blooms.
For within its vibrant grandeur,
death’s brew does certainly loom…

Paula Swanson

 

This native shrub of Northern Africa may be one of the most poisonous plants on earth! Every part of the oleander is toxic causing severe digestive upset, heart trouble, contact dermatitis.  In horses there appears severe diarrhea and abnormal heartbeat. The faster that the stomach contents can be eliminated through vomiting the better, followed by charcoal administration to absorb as much of what remains as possible.

 

Through history oleander has been used as medicine, although it is not recommended due to its extreme toxicity. The Mesopotamians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and the Ancient Arab believed in the use for medical treatment. The Babylonians used oleander compounded with licorice to treat hangovers, and the Arab used as an early treatment for cancer. In more recent history the Chinese and Russian physicians have used oleander to treat heart failure for decades.

 

Heavily diluted oleander preparations have been used to treat muscle cramps, asthma, corns, menstrual pain, epilepsy, paralysis, skin diseases, heart problems, and cancer.

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