Symptoms of Dieffenbachia Poisoning

by on September 10th, 2012
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Dieffenbachia houseplants, typically known as the dumb cane, are a group of about 30 perennial known for their foliage. They grow four feet tall with cane-like stems and large leaves. Colors can vary widely, some are dark green or light green and may have white, cream, or yellow markings. When the leaves are ingested, poisoning can occur. Both oxalic acid and asparagine are found in this houseplant, compounds that are both poisonous upon ingesting.


The signs of poisoning from this houseplant include diarrhea, eye pain, cornea damage, burning in the throat or mouth, hoarse voice, swelling of the tongue or mouth, nausea, and vomiting.


While calling poison control and emergency health personnel, wipe out the mouth of the one that ingested the plant. Use a wet cold cloth and give milk to drink afterward. Try to know the amount of the plant ingested and how long ago it was ingested. The doctors will begin to monitor their vital signs and treat their symptoms. They may receive IV fluids and breathing support. Typically, the outcome for these types of poisoning is good. However, there are a few cases where ingesting dumb cane plants can cause swelling that will block the airways. This will be a severe complication.

The severity of the poisoning will depend on the patient that ingested it, what type of health they are in, etc. The severity also depends on how much of the plant was eaten and how far off treatment is delayed.

Source:, ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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