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Poisons Part 2 (Teacher: Michael)

Few people realise that rhododendron seeds produce urinary and gastroenteritis symptoms, such as pain when passing water, diarrhoea and vomiting. Poppies contain over 100 different kinds of addictive drugs, the most powerful being the basic derivatives of morphine and codeine. As it is now well known, the pretty blue flowers of morning glory conceal the drug LSD, which produces horrific hallucinations.

Away from the garden and into the countryside, yew seeds are dangerous, even lethal if chewed, while holly berries act as a purgative. Deadly nightshade isn't as bad as its name suggests, at least 10 or 12 berries are needed to produce diarrhoea, headaches and abdominal pain but still should not .

The fox-glove, famous for giving us the drug digitalis for heart failure and slowing the heart rate, is not good for healthy hearts. Even the benign sounding buttercup should avoided, as it belongs to the same family as monkshood and can cause blistering of the mouth, colic and diarrhoea.

Funghi such as wild mushrooms and toadstools are not often toxic if they are cooked as the poisons are down by heat, but problems can arise if they are raw. But the best protection against plant poisoning is knowing what is dangerous and educating your children.

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