Toxic yew: Attention, danger to life!


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Although yews are so poisonous, the conifers are extremely popular toadstools and are commonly found in our gardens as opaque, robust and easy-care hedge plants. The most widespread are the European yew (Taxus baccata) and the Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata). Even the genus name Taxus indicates the poison Taxin, which makes the yew so dangerous to humans and animals. Almost all parts of the yew are poisonous: the taxin is also present in the attractive needles, such as the wood and the yew's seeds. Only the bright red fruit coat of the fruits is harmless and serves many birds as a source of food. The highest concentration of yew in autumn and winter.

Taxin: The poison of the yew

Even minimal amounts of highly toxic taxin contained in yew trees can lead to severe symptoms of poisoning and even death. Taxin is an alkaloid, a phytochemical. Again and again it comes in pasture cattle such as cattle, but also in horses to poisoning by yews, which end almost without exception deadly. Although the pulp of the yew-fruits itself is not poisonous, the taxin is abundant in the seeds in it. It comes out when you chew on the kernels. In households with small children, yew trees in the garden should therefore be avoided, as the bright red fruits are especially attractive to children.

Fruits yew taxus baccata

Almost all parts of the yew tree contain the poison taxin - also the seeds. Only the pulp of the red fruits is edible

How to recognize a yew poison

About one to two hours after eating yews, and depending on body size faster, usually the first signs of intoxication occur. The most common symptoms are:

  • cherry red colored lips
  • a dry mouth
  • extended pupils
  • Nausea and extreme paleness
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • cold sweat
  • general malaise
  • headache
  • skin irritation

The consequences

Not only in animals, but also in humans Taxin leads to violent convulsions to death. Also common consequences of consuming toxic yews are severe and permanent damage to the liver and kidneys.

Needles of the yew

The attractive evergreen needles of yew contain taxin

First measures for poisoning with yew

If you or someone from your family, friends or acquaintances has consumed toxic parts of the yew, you should immediately alert the local poison center, call a doctor or drive yourself to the doctor. You should drink as much as possible and take charcoal tablets until treated by a doctor. A deliberately induced gastric emptying (vomiting) is also advisable.

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