Is Snake Plant Poisonous to Humans, Fact or Myth?
Snake plant is one of ideal plants that you are able to put at your home. Besides it is low maintenance, this plant will also make your house more fresh and pretty. But, is the snake plant poisonous to humans? Let’s find out the facts about it.
Is Snake Plant Poisonous to Humans?
Snake plants are relatively safe for humans. Even though they are safe, make sure that these plants are not consumed by humans or animals. If these plants are eaten in a large portion, it can cause swelling and numbness on the tongue because their leaves have poison. So, it is better for you to avoid snake plants from children and pets.
The poison which is contained in the snake plant is saponins. Saponins are their natural insecticides and fungicides. These are dangerous for living beings because it can cause gastronomical reactions such as diarrhea or vomiting when it is eaten by humans and animals.
Besides, the juices of snake plants can cause dermatitis. It is a form of skin irritation. If humans or animals consume any part of snake plants, it can cause them to suffer from allergic reaction which as a consequence, they can suffer from swelling of the tissues in their oral cavity and esophagus.
If you find your children or pet eating the leaves of snake plants, you can try to help them by taking them to a doctor. Or, for first aid, you can force them to vomit the snake plant leaves that they eat.
The Part of Snake Plants Which Is Poisonous
As explained above, snake plants have a poison named saponin. This poison can be found in the whole part of the plant including upright leaves, stiff, small white fragrant flowers, long stem and occasional berries. So, it is important for you to avoid your children and pets from this plant. Make sure that you put your snake plant in an area which cannot be reached by your children and pets. If you put them in an area which can be reached by your children and pets, there will be a chance for them to eat the snake plant leaves.
Hanging your snake plant pots can be a good choice to avoid them from your kids and pets. So, you still can have your snake plants without endangering your kids and pets.
The Signs of Snake Plant Poisoning
When the snake plant is eaten by children or pets which are usually curious about anything, they will feel that the taste of the snake plant is bitter and then there will be a burning sensation in their mouth. If the plant and also the saponin is ingested, they will start showing these signs:
- Swelling on the tongue, lips and mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting, nausea and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
You may find that your pet is drooling excessively because it increases salivation. When the poison works, the foam will affect the gastrointestinal tract. As a consequence, it can cause rupture of blood cells and cell death.
Protecting Pet Owners from Snake Plants
Snake plants are safe to touch, but once they are ingested, the liquid from the leaves will cause skin irritation. And even it can cause the other bad things as we explained above.
So, when you repot or handle your snake plants, it is better for you to use gloves. Besides, you also have to put your snake plant in a safe area which cannot be reached by your children and pets. You may be able to put them on a high shelf or hang them.
If you find that your kids or pets have eaten a bite of the plant, you can remove the pieces of bitten leaves from their mouth and then visit a doctor to check it. The other things to do to help them firstly before going to the doctor is to flush the mouth, induce vomiting or pump the stomach to empty its contents.
Benefits of Snake Plants
Snake plants are dangerous if they are eaten. Nevertheless, the presence of this plant can give you some benefits that you may not realize. Here are some benefits of planting snake plants at home.
- Removing Air Pollutants
Snake plants can remove toxic air pollutants because they are able to absorb benzene, CO2, xylene, toluene and formaldehyde. These are pollutants which can cause cancer so that they are dangerous for our health. A study at Naresuan University Thailand showed that tall snake plants with 60 to 80 cm can reduce the level of CO2 in offices with 4 to 5 snake plants. There was also a study of NASA that snake plants could remove 52.6 percent in a sealed chamber. Formaldehyde level can be reduced by snake plants and there was a NASA experiment that a single plant of snake plant has the ability to get rid of 31,294 micrograms in a 24 hours exposure. Xylene can also be removed by snake plants and this pollutant can come from paint, varnish, paint thinners, pesticides, removers and rust preventives. Trichloroethylene and Toluene exposure can be lowered by snake plants indoors. An experiment indicated that snake plants can get rid of up to 13.4 percent of TCE in 24 hours of exposure.
- Absorbing CO2 at Night
Snake plants have the ability to reduce the level of CO2 at night. It is because they have CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism). CAM is the ability to do a specific type of photosynthesis. Usually, plants which contain CAM can be tolerant to drought. They are able to minimize the loss of water in hot conditions by opening their stomata from evening.
- Fighting Allergies
Some plants have the ability to reduce CO2, release oxygen and absorb harmful volatile organic compounds. Usually, the plants which have these kinds of abilities can reduce the odds of airborne allergies. Snake plants have the ability to do this thing.
- Producing Great Oxygen
A study which was published in Harvard University Extension found that the snake plant is one of the houseplants which can produce most oxygen.
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