Is boxwood toxic to humans and pets?

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Is boxwood toxic to humans and pets?: pets

Boxwood in the gardens and front gardens or in the tub cultivated on the terrace or balcony is common in local latitudes. Unfortunately, the evergreen plant is not harmless, because the flowers and the young bark contain toxins. If taken by mouth, they can be dangerous. Therefore, especially small children and pets are at risk when plant parts are taken in the mouth. In adults, however, the risk is relatively low, because the sole touch does not lead to poisoning.

Features boxwood

The boxwood is an evergreen, flowering plant from March to May. It is usually cultivated as a solitary bush or tree and as a hedge plant in native gardens, often in the local cemeteries as well as in landscaped parks and green areas. He is recognized by the following characteristics:
  • can grow up to four meters high
  • yellow, small flowers
  • Leaves are ovate and leathery
  • In autumn, the small, black-brown fruits develop

Toxic parts of plants

Especially the young bark and the flowers of a boxwood are poisonous. But also the leaves and the stems contain the poison, so that it is highly toxic in all parts. Especially the cocktail of the various poisons that the boxwood has in it makes it so dangerous, especially for children or pets, who like to take the leaves or flowers in their mouths. When these parts of the plant are swallowed, it is necessary to act immediately. in the plant there are up to 70 different alkaloids, especially the following poisons were found in boxwood:
  • Buxanin
  • Buxtanin
  • Buxaltin
  • Buxpsiin
  • as well as the main active ingredient Buxin

Protect children

Often box trees are also found in the nearby parks and cemeteries. Therefore, anyone with small children should always keep an eye on them on walks or at the playground. Especially the little ones enjoy it and do not bother using the leaves and flowers of plants, for example for a cooking game in the sandbox. They quickly take this one or the other piece in the mouth and swallow it in the worst case. Therefore, care should be taken not only for all parents and other caregivers, if a boxwood is in their own garden, even outside the home country, these can be dangerous for the children. Therefore, attention should be paid to the following:
  • If you have small children, you should do without box trees in the garden
  • Install plants cultivated on the terrace or balcony in the bucket so high that the children can not even reach for it
  • When visiting a cemetery, the children always have nearby, there are plenty of box trees
  • In the park or on the playground let your eyes wander, if box trees are in direct play proximity
  • older children can be told which plants are toxic to them and which are not
  • even smaller children can already playfully learn which plants should not be touched by posters
  • a new garden is created, designed to be child-friendly
  • any plants that might contain toxins are avoided when growing
Tip: Children should be made aware at an early stage during a trip into nature or while looking at their own garden on the potential dangers that can emanate from the individual plants. Nevertheless, the parents have to take care of the children, the smaller they are.

Protecting pets

The pets must be protected from the poisonous boxwood. So cats and dogs should not get near the plant. But even the smaller cage animals, such as rabbits or guinea pigs like to nibble on all plants and so could catch the poisonous leaves of the boxwood. Therefore, extreme caution is required and the following measures can be taken:
  • Dogs or cats are free in the garden, the boxwood should be fenced high and spacious
  • In addition, it must be ensured in the case of cats that this is a protection against which they can not climb
  • Keep rabbits, guinea pigs and other cage animals only in an outdoor enclosure that has been set up far from the poisonous plants
Tip: Since especially the flowers and the resulting fruits are particularly poisonous, in the period from April to May and September to October increased attention must be paid

Symptoms of poisoning in humans and animals

Boxwood - Buxus

If children, pets or even adults have taken parts of the poisonous boxwood and possibly even swallowed it, the following symptoms of intoxication may show up, depending on the amount of poison taken:
  • Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting
  • dizziness
  • Cramps, possibly accompanied by paralysis
  • Tremble
  • Blood pressure drop that can end in a circulatory collapse
  • depending on the amount of poison taken, this can in the worst case lead to death
  • Here are the smaller animals, then the children end up endangered the adults
  • because the amount absorbed is always in proportion to size and weight
Tip: Those who find that their child or pet has eaten or eaten the poisonous parts should not panic. Most of the time the amounts are so low that only a few symptoms disappear after some time, as the body of the toxins on its own again.

First measures

If poisoning has been detected in a human or pet and it is clearly recognized that it comes from boxwood, medical charcoal, which binds the toxins in the stomach, can be used as the first measure. Those who are not sure how bad the poisoning is, but should not be afraid to dial the emergency number 112 for people or even the local animal emergency call. Even if the intake of the poison was not life-threatening, there is certainty.
Tip: The "Information Center Against Poisoning" of the University Hospital Bochum reported on their information page that there are no reports of serious poisoning of parts of the plant boxwood in adults and humans. That is, severe poisoning even with fatal consequences in humans have neither known nor occurred.
ConclusionIf you have one or more box trees in the garden, you should not panic right now, as this should be harmful to humans or animals. Because with the appropriate measures, such as a fencing or education on poisonous plants in children, the graceful, evergreen bush is not a danger even in their own garden. But if you have a family with children and pets, you may want to think about making the garden suitable for children and pets, and not using toxic plants of any kind when planting a new garden.

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