India has a very high incidence of poisoning. While most cases are due to chemicals or drugs or envenomation by venomous creatures, a significant proportion also results from consumption or exposure to toxic plants or plant parts or products. The exact nature of plant poisoning varies from region to region, but certain plants are almost ubiquitous in distribution, and among these, Oleander and Datura are the prime examples. These plants are commonly encountered in almost all parts of India. While one is a wild shrub (Datura) that proliferates in the countryside and by roadsides, and the other (Oleander) is a garden plant that features in many homes. Incidents of poisoning from these plants are therefore not uncommon and may be the result of accidental exposure or deliberate, suicidal ingestion of the toxic parts. An attempt has been made to review the management principles with regard to toxicity of these plants and survey the literature in order to highlight current concepts in the treatment of poisoning resulting from both plants.
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