Symptoms of Jerusalem Cherry Poisoning

by on March 5th, 2014
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The Jerusalem cherry is also known as the Christmas cherry or winter cherry. Botanically, it is the Solanum pseudocapsicum, an annual evergreen shrub. It has wavy, glossy, dark green leaves with white flowers. There is then red, yellow, or orange-red fruits. Jerusalem cherry belongs to the same class of plants as the deadly nightshade.


The toxic property of the Jerusalem cherry plant is solanocapsine. It is found throughout the plant, especially in the fruits and leaves. Poisoning occurs when someone ingests the plant. Care should be taken when it is around pets, livestock, or children.


Signs of poisoning from ingesting the Jerusalem cherry include vomiting, stomach pain, slow pulse, low blood pressure, slowed breathing, headache, hallucinations, dilated pupils, drowsiness, diarrhea, coma, and delirium. The person can have any and all of these signs.


At the emergency center, the doctor will monitor the vital signs of temperature, blood pressure, pulse and breath rate. Depending on the symptoms presented and the amount of poison ingested. Some things that the patient may get as treatment include fluids, a gastric lavage to clean out the stomach, and activated charcoal. A gastric lavage will be a procedure where there is a tube that they will snake down into the stomach and wash out the stomach and lining.

The quicker you can get treatment for the poisoning, the better the outcome. Calling Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 and getting immediate emergency care are keys to the best prognosis for the patient.

Source: A.D.A.M., Purdue University Consumer Horticulture

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