Is the dragon tree poisonous to humans and pets?

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Is the dragon tree poisonous to humans and pets?: tree

The home of the dragon trees (Dracaena) is Africa. The genus includes about 60 species worldwide that grow as trees or shrubs. The botanical genus name is derived from the Greek word drákaina, which means as much as female dragon. Houseplants are usually Dracaena marginata, Dracaena fragrans or Dracaena deremensis or other varieties. The variety Dracaena draco (Canarian dragon tree) is very large and therefore often considered a container plant. Dragon trees contain saponins that are toxic to pets and relatively non-toxic to humans.

Effect on animals

The plant juices of the dragon tree contain toxins, especially saponins, which irritate the mucous membranes of animals and can lead to the destruction of the red blood cells (hemolysis) when they enter the bloodstream (Source: Habermehl, G., Ziemer, P.: Central European poisonous plants and their active ingredients, Springer Verlag). Saponin poisoning can cause salivation, gum inflammation, diarrhea and vomiting. Bleeding and movement disorders have already been identified if the poisoning is not treated immediately. As the plant toxins also affect the central nervous system, they can lead to circulatory disorders and cramps. Depending on the amount that was ingested, poisoning can also be fatal. However, if an animal nibbles on a dragon tree only once for a short time, it does not necessarily have serious consequences. Nevertheless, you should be very careful and protect your pet!

Effect on humans

For humans, the plant juices of dragon trees are largely harmless, since the saponins containing are poorly absorbed in the human digestive tract. Because of the saponins, the leaves of the plants taste very bitter. That's why children only need a short break once. They usually spit out the plant parts immediately and then stop eating. If more parts of the plant are eaten, it can cause diarrhea and vomiting in children and adults. Nevertheless, care should be taken with babies and toddlers! Likewise with asthma sufferers.

Reactions in asthma sufferers and allergy sufferers:

Dragon Tree - Dracaena

So far it does not seem to be scientifically proven, but dragon trees can increase the symptoms of asthma and allergies. At least according to the statements of affected allergic and asthmatic people, who describe their problems in various Internet communities on this topic and seek help. According to her, the allergens usually get into the body through inhalation. If inhaled air contaminated by the plant juices of the dragon trees, it may cause irritation of the respiratory tract due to the saponins contained. Because allergy sufferers and asthmatics are very sensitive in this area. Dusting the dragon trees in combination with very dry air can increase the risk of strong reactions to the plants. Asthma sufferers are particularly at risk, as inhalation of the exhalations of the dragon trees can lead to blockage in the respiratory muscles after just a few seconds. In confined spaces, the reaction occurs faster.
Tip: Since there is also the possibility that the exhalations of the plant through cracks and keyhole from one room to another room can reach, should seriously asthma sufferers avoid the entire apartment in which one or more dragon trees are.

Reactions in people without asthmatic disease:

The exhalations of the dragon trees may also cause discomfort and shortness of breath in some people who do not suffer from asthma. Those affected feel the air in the room with dragon trees as stuffy and have to open the windows immediately. Other side effects that sufferers often describe are sweating, dry or oily skin, depending on your physical condition.

What are saponins?

The sap of the dragon tree mainly contains saponins in high concentration. These substances are a subgroup of glycosides and belong to the so-called phytochemicals. They have the property of forming foam when shaken with aqueous solutions. Chestnuts and soapwort are especially rich in saponins. Similar to soap, they consist of fat-soluble and water-soluble molecules. Sapo is Latin and means soap. Saponins are therefore washing-active substances, which are mainly used in organic detergents. However, even cosmetic products contain saponins. For the sake of completeness, the following properties must be mentioned: In very small amounts, saponins should be beneficial. They also occur in some vegetables. They are also mixed in medicines. Pets can still poison themselves with saponins, as described above!

Preventive measures for animals

Although dogs have a natural instinct that prevents them from eating poisonous plants, curious puppies and young dogs, or even adult dogs, can still feed on the dragon trees.First of all, dogs, who are very bored in the apartment, nibble on plants. Likewise cats and other pets, whose play instinct is pronounced. Make a clear no or other No command the animal already knows. Move the animal away from the plant so that it learns that it is not allowed on the dragon tree. If necessary, remove the dragon tree and other poisonous indoor plants from your home.
Tip: But do not punish your pet because it ate it. But train your pet what it is allowed to do and what not. Because with punishment nothing is achieved!

Variety against boredom:

Whether it's a dog, a cat or a rabbit kept free in the home, give your animals variety. This also means that you deal with them and not just lie down toys that they can play with. Boredom often tempts you to nibble on plants, especially if the animal already knows everything else in the apartment or conservatory. Give the animals some cat grass. It helps the digestion and distracts from the plants in the apartment.

In case of suspected poisoning

The symptoms of poisoning with dragon trees are similar to the poisoning symptoms of other plants. They usually manifest in laxity, vomiting, diarrhea, foam in the mouth, cramps, fever and drowsiness. If you have a suspicion that your pet has been poisoned with a dragon tree, then seek your veterinarian immediately or call the veterinary emergency service. Tell the doctor exactly which plants are still standing next to the dragon trees in your home.
ConclusionWhile dragon trees are not so poisonous to humans, except for asthmatics and allergy sufferers, animals can poison themselves with the plant juices of dragon trees. Depending on the amount consumed, the symptoms of intoxication vary in severity. Likewise, the symptoms are dependent on the physical condition of your pet and whether it is an adult or a young animal. Protect your animals from dragon-trees and tell them not to eat them. To be on the safe side, move the plants to another location or banish them from your home. Children, babies, asthmatics and allergy sufferers should also be protected from dragon trees.

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