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VOLUME 25 , ISSUE 4 ( April, 2021 ) > List of Articles


Deliberate Self-poisoning due to Plant Toxins: Verdant Footprints of the Past into the Present

Kundavaram P. P. Abhilash, Abel S Rabbi, Sharon Pradeeptha, Roshini Pradeep, Karthik Gunasekaran

Citation Information : Abhilash KP, Rabbi AS, Pradeeptha S, Pradeep R, Gunasekaran K. Deliberate Self-poisoning due to Plant Toxins: Verdant Footprints of the Past into the Present. Indian J Crit Care Med 2021; 25 (4):392-397.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-23784

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 01-04-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2021; The Author(s).


Background: Plant poisoning is one of the common methods of deliberate self-poisoning (DSP). Exposure to plants and its consequence account for a considerable number of deaths in rural India. Materials and methods: This retrospective observational study was conducted in the emergency department of a large tertiary care hospital in South India over a period of 2 years and recruited patients who presented with DSP from plant poisoning. Results: During the study period, 150 cases of plant poisoning were included. The mean (standard deviation) age of presentation was 31.4 (12.2) years. The most common type of plant poison consumed was oleander (63%) followed by oduvanthalai (50%), Strychnos nux-vomica (3%), datura (3%), and others, which comprised about 5.3% included henna (1.3%), cactus (1.3%), and a case each of castor, Gloriosa superba, Adenanthera pavonina, and Abrus precatorius. Patients in age-group 16–30 years had the highest rate of ingestion. The seasonal pattern was found to peak in the month of April. Gastric lavage was done in 102/150:68%. Consumption of decoction [odds ratio (OR): 5, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.27–14.00, p value: <0.001] and metabolic acidosis (pH <7.35) (OR: 11.48, 95% CI: 4.17–31.57, p value: <0.001) were more common in oduvanthalai poisoning as compared to oleander. The mortality among plant poisoning was 9.3% (14/150). Conclusion: Our study sheds light on the spectrum of local plants consumed for DSP. Oleander and oduvanthalai were most commonly used for DSP. Consuming a decoction of leaves leading to severe metabolic acidosis at presentation is seen associated with oduvanthalai poisoning.

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