Poinsettias are non-toxic, despite the persistent myth!

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The Plant Man column for publication week of 11/28/04 - 12/04/04 (667 words) ###
The Plant Man by Steve Jones www.landsteward.org
Poinsettias are non-toxic, despite the persistent myth!
For me, Thanksgiving always seems to be the point where fall ends and winter begins. The official calendar may disagree with me, but with Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas less than a month away, I'm already thinking about next spring.
For landscapers and gardeners, its not visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads. Rather, it's visions of fresh, green growth and emerging new buds that we know are just around the corner. Well, almost...
First we must get through the rest of the Holidays with the minimum of stress! In my next column, I will suggest a few stocking stuffers (wheelbarrow stuffers?) for the gardeners on your list, or as "I-deserve-it" treats for yourself.
But today, let's debunk a myth that seems to surface every year at about this time.
The myth: Poinsettias are toxic.
The reality: They're not.
The origin of this misinformation apparently dates back to 1919 when the death of an army officer's two-year-old child was wrongly attributed to the ingestion of Poinsettia leaves. Since then, according to web sites such as www.truthorfiction.com the myth of the poisonous Poinsettia has continued to spread.
A 50 lb child would have to eat 1.25 lbs of Poinsettia bracts (about 500 to 600 leaves) to exceed the experimental doses reported by the POISINDEX Information Service. Poisindex is the reference used by most poison control centers. You can read the full story at a web site that tracks urban legends here: http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/poinsettia.asp and there is a direct link from this column archived under "The Plant Man" heading at my web site, www.landsteward.org if you'd care to read it.
Furthermore, the snopes web site reports that the American Medical Association's "Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants" lists nothing more than occasional vomiting as a side effect of ingesting otherwise harmless poinsettia leaves.
"It's a testament to the persistence of myths," says Paul Bachman, marketing chairman of the Society of American Florists and quoted at www.twilightbridge.com "Poinsettias simply are not toxic. That was proven 23 years ago and we want to set the record straight."
Researchers at Ohio State University have measured the effects of ingesting unusually high doses of all parts of the plant, including the leaves, stem and sap, and found the plants to be non-toxic.
But if you believe that Poinsettias are poisonous, you're not alone. In a poll mentioned at the twilightbridge web site, only 16% of adults knew that the plants are non-toxic. (50% of respondents believed Poinsettias are poisonous and 34% said they didn't know.)
But I have to say, I definitely do NOT suggest that any part of a Poinsettia should be eaten, particularly by small children, who could suffer some discomfort and stomach upset even though they will not be poisoned.
Animals particularly cats should be kept away from Poinsettias because they tend to vomit after eating ANY houseplant... even those "cat oats" that are grown specifically for them to chomp on.
So... for your peace of mind (and to avoid cleaning up kitty puke from the rug) it's a good idea to display your Holiday Poinsettias away from the kids and the cats, even if you now know that no permanent damage is likely to occur.
What about those other traditional Holiday decorations, holly and ivy?
According to various medical resources, most types of ivy would cause a burning sensation in the throat when ingested. And eating the leaves or berries of most varieties of holly would cause vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Again, all excellent reasons to keep your festive greenery away from little hands and paws, but not particularly life-threatening!
Remember, I'm always pleased to receive your comments or questions and I try to respond personally via e-mail within a couple of days.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org
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It is not a myth. Poinsettias are indeed toxic. Eat them and you will get very ill and vomit. That is most certainly a toxic reaction. What they are not is DEADLY LETHAL!!!
Steve Jones The Plant Man is a shill for the plant industry. He's just playing with words. He should put his money where his mouth is and eat Poinsettias himself and find out first-hand just how toxic they really are.
and for resources and additional

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Numerous studies have been conducted on poinsettias feeding them to rats looking for a toxic level of exposure. There is none. They would rarely even induce vomiting, though that's a personal response, one can vomit from eating anything from one blade of grass to too many Muskateer bars. Rat studies on poinsettias as a major part of diet found no toxic effects whatsoever, zip, nada.

That may be true of Steve Jones, but here's a repost of my bit re poinsettias, as it is indeed getting to be that time of year again:
REPOST:
Poinsettas are harmless to pets & people.
To quote Keith L. Smith of the Ohio State University Agricultural Extension: "Various reports over the years have led the general public to believe poinsettias are toxic to humans; however, this has not been authenticated. Research conducted at The Ohio State University & other institutions has proved the old wives' tale that poinsettias are poisonous to be false."
Yet it is a deeply ingrained myth that poinsettias are toxic. It is so ingrained that it gets tossed onto dozens of "poisonous plants lists" with no one bothering to check to find out if there is actually any toxic alkaloid in this plant, & even veterinarians will state with straight faces that poinsettias will kill cats or dogs, though no veterinarian on earth has ever seen this happen because it can't happen. The mature plant exudes a white milk similar to that of toxic euphorbias, which would tend to increase the belief in this myth once it got started, but there is not one case on record of poinsettias injuring pets, & people, & the caustic level is about the same as that of a dandylion.
The currently prevailing theory is that the myth began in Hawaii in 1919, when a two year old child was found dead under a full grown poinsettia tree, with a poinsettia leaf in her hand. This is the ONLY death-by-poinsettia ever reported, & it was a 100% false report. A Cornell University professor in 1972 attempted long after the case to track down the specifics, knowing as he did that poinsettias are nontoxic. The last living witness to the case said there had never been poinsettias involved in the only known case of poinsettia poisoning; that he didn't know how the story got started since poinsettias were not involved [see details in THE MEXICAN PET].
In close to a century since, one additional case of moderate illness has been reported, but it was not medically tested at the time, & could've been anything, but the parent presenting a child with stomach upset had seen the child eat a poinsettia leaf. This was the much-cited case was in Rochester, NY, in 1965, but the child did not need to be treated for anything whatsoever.
The urban folktale itself causes headaches for florists & poinsettia ranchers, as nothing squelches the belief. The Paul Ecke Poinsettia Ranch strives every winter to undue this unkillable myth, to the point that market manager Thom David grabs a few bracts & eats them right in front of anyone who persists in the belief, & that always settles the matter, so perhaps he should do this on Fear Factor, as nothing less would reach enough people to have any chance of turning the widespread belief around.
Harrassed by superstitious activists who wanted the government to force the poinsettia industry to put toxic warning labels on poinsettias, the Consumer Products Safety Commission accumulated all relevant literature, & in 1975 denied the petition, issuing instead a clean bill of health for the complete safety of poinsettias, citing the complete lack of any evidence to the contrary. Yet a Bruskin/Goldring Research poll of 1,000 Americans found that 50% were certain poinsettias were poisonous, 34% didn't know, & only 16% were well informed. They found that women were more prone to believing the myth than men; & anyone under the age of 50 was more apt to believe it than anyone aged 50 or older (so we DO get wiser as we age!); & people in the Northeast were more prone to believing the myth than were people in the West.
Many otherwise harmless plant alkaloids in sufficient concentration can cause vomiting, for which reason the American Medicical Association's poison handbook still states that poinsettias might cause stomach upset or vomiting, though otherwise harmless. The AMA is being overcautious even at that, since stomach upset & vomiting can be induced by a cheap meal at Taco Time. A study by the Academic Faculty of Entomology at Ohio State University measured effects of ingesting large amounts of the plant & were unable to reach a toxic level. Using rat models, a diet of poinsettia leaves had no adverse effects, a zero mortality rate, zero symptoms of toxicity, no changes in behavior, & they were fed serially each part of the poinsettia to find out if any part of it was even mildly toxic. So far as the rats were concerned, the poinsettia is completely edible raw, though for a human to eat them one would need to be awfully desparate, as the bitter taste is extremely horrible. They established that if a 50 pound dog or child could eat the equivalent of between 500 & 600 of the bracts, or a pound & a half of the sap, they would still not have reached a toxic dosage. In essence they found it to be completely nontoxic.
The Ohio research has been duplicated by other institutes because of the persistance of the belief, & the results are always the same. A study by the Children?s Hospital in Pittsburgh & Carnegie Mellon University found that out of 22,793 poinsettia exposures in the American Association of Poison Control Centers database, not one case of toxicity was present. In 1996, Dr. Edward Krenzelok, director of Pittsburgh Poison Center, analyzed data on 850,000 poinsettia exposure reports in the database of the American Association of Poison Countrol Centers, finding not one case of authentic poisoning. It is extremely hard for children to successfully swallow the leaves because they taste so damned bad, but in that enormous database were 92 cases involving children injesting substantial quantities of poinsettias, inducing very worried parents to contact poison centers. NOT ONE of these cases resulted in even slightly harmful effects.
My own suspicion is the myth originally transferred from Christmas mistletoe (mildly toxic) & English holly (much more toxic), which are properly worried about.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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wrote:

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All of the above, including the rest of the post now snipped, is quite true - toxicity of poinsettias if ingested is exremely low. However internal consumption is hardly the problem. If anyone has worked with euphorbias (poinsettia = Euphorbia pulcherrima) of any kind, they are aware that the white latex (sap) emitted by the plant is a caustic agent. Reactions may be different acording to individual sensitivities, but it can produce dermatitis and blistering and most certainly occular irritation including keratoconjunctivitis. This is the largest risk for kids or pets nibbling or ingesting the plant - not that they would eat it but rather the latex could affect delicate and sensitive tissues. Avoid getting the latex near any mucous membranes and if at all possible, off of bare skin. If the plant is damaged or broken, and the latex is touched, wash it off immediately.
I have worked with euphorbs for years and am well aware myself of the properties of the latex and it has never bothered me, so I tended to discount its causticness myself. However, my 14 y.o. daughter did contract a rather impressive case of phytodermatitis from the plant this summer, simply by applying price tags to nursery containers. Apparently, she is one of those with particular sensitivity to it. The blisters lasted for nearly two weeks and required a doctor's attention.
pam - gardengal
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And that might be because she was diabetic. My grandmammy as I recall broke out when handling the poinsettia that was given her around Christmas when she "fooled with it" and so the task of caring for it during the Christmas season fell onto Pearline who adored and loved any flower or plant....(another recessed memory regarding my sweet Aunt Pearline who was responsible for my gardening madness surfaces.....) madgardener who believes that poinsettia's are not TOXIC.....can be irritating to some people and who loves all the diversities of the poinsettia's but doesn't grow or have them herself (my cacti and succulents and few tropicals and ferns suffer enough in my warm, dry house, thank you) up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee

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Phytotoxicity and sensitivity to plant toxins has nothing to do with diabetes.
In logic, what you are alluding to is called "false cause" also know as coincidence.

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"Cereus-validus..." wrote:

I'll go along with that. However it could be that there was an allergic reaction to the poinsettas that caused the diabetes.
My logic for that goes like this. Diabetes is usually considered an autoimmunal disease where the pancreatic cells that produce insulin are attacked and killed. And if there is an allergy to a specific substance, that in turn can produce an autoimmunal response which in turn can kill pancreatic cells and thus the condition of diabetes becomes present. I don't have any proof of this being true... just food for thought.
In fact, with all the talk about poinsettas being poisonous, anyone with an allergy to a poinsetta could possibly die from contact. I won't state that that is 100% true, because I never witnessed it, but it's definitely better to be safe than sorry.
-- Jim Carlock Post replies to newsgroup.

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Jim Carlock wrote:

Better safe than sorry for what?
How is someone going to know what they might be allergic to until they have their first reaction?
Are you going to ban eggs, milk, wheat and barley and rye products, shellfish, peanuts, real nuts, soybeans, *and* anything with tomatoes in it from your house, just in case someone somewhere might be allergic to them? What if that person ends up a guest in your house, has an allergic reaction to your cat, and DIES? Then what are you going to do?
(Have I made my point yet that your premise is ridiculous?)
Best regards, Bob
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Poinsettia is related to the rubber tree. Someone who authentically has a latex/rubber allergy already knows to avoid euphorbias, cactuses, rubber gloves, pencil erasers, pacifiers, balloons, & all sorts of household items & plants that would not cause the least problem to anyone who does not have a latex allergy.
The skin irritation potential of poinsettia is otherwise about equal to that of a dandylion, carrot, tomato, onion, garlic, aster, chrysanthemum, ginger, magnolia, cedar sawdust, tomato, tulip, or daffodil -- to name a few things that are commonly associated with contact dermatitis to equal or greater extent than is poinsettia. Some euphorbias are very likely to cause a rash & are sufficiently caustic that it would not even require an allergenic response, but for poinsettia it would not be an ordinary reaction, because it is not very caustic, though I wouldn't rub it OR a garlic clove all up & down my naked body.
People with such plant allergies have to be careful handling a great many plants which would not affect normal people. And while it may be possible to die of a rash, it certainly isn't likely, & it never happened from contact with poinsettia. If your rule of thumb is "better safe than sorry" then you should never touch anything without wearing rubber gloves, & even then you should worry about a rubber allergy. Of course an INTELLIGENT person would have much more knowledge & common sense about their allergies from past experience & ideally some instruction from a physician with a specialty in allergens, so you WON'T end up a lunatic afraid to move a muscle.
People with plant allergies usually have some degree of tolerance. So you could handle daffodils or poinsettias one day & feel no effect, but after making a big meal chopping up onions, carrots, & tomatoes, or other food items associated with contact dermatitis, an allergy-prone person may have reached their limit, so that picking a daffodil or touching poinsettia could conceivably cause an unexpected rash. If so, that sort of person would be equally likely to have the accumulative response during dinner, & get the rash from picking up a piece of raw celery, celery being another plant associated with contact dermatitis.
The reason people are hystical about this possibility when the word "poinsettia" is stated but never even think twice about the equal threat represented by carrots, celery, & onions is because of the myth that poinsettias are toxic. They're not. The rats in the Ohio study ate poinsettias using their wee paws & stuffed them in their snouty faces & there was neither a toxic effect of eating the plants nor a rash response from handling them. The plants were harmless. And allergenic people for whom rashes are likely are going to be worrying about a hell of a lot more than this fundamentally harmless christmas flower.
As for a connection between allergy & diabetes, that's been studied & found to be a myth as well. Diet can effect both allergic conditions & diabetes, but the allergy cannot affect diabetes. Here's a little article intended to alleviate superstitious peoples' worries about their allergies turning them into diabetics: http://www.diabetes.org.uk/infocentre/inform/allergy.htm
There is however a connection between allergins that cause rash & allergins that cause asthma, & asthma CAN kill. So if you want to terrify yourself, avoid contact with all flowers & all plants of all kinds forever, as your lungs may swell up & you'll be dead before you can say "where's my inhaler."
Your decision to avoid harmless stuff "just in case" it's not harmless to some allergy-prone sniffle-snouted dork, instead of on the basis of knowledge & possibly with a physician's guidance, will eventually have you afraid to get out of bed, because you won't believe how many potentially death-causing allergens are in those dust bunnies under the bed. And while there is no known case of anyone dying of poinsettias, a number of asthma deaths can be traced to dustbunnies under the bed & the gazillions of hideous invisible mites that live in those dustbunnies. Be afraid. Be very afraid. And tune in next week for The Litterbox Terror.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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Jim Carlock wrote:

Gosh. Aren't we all having fun with faulty logic today.
Type I diabetes is caused by a lack of beta cells in the pancreace resulting in no insulin being created. Type I diabetes is also known as childhood onset diabetes. It's unusual for it to occur after childhood, and certainly not from an alergic reaction to something. Any reaction great enough to kill existing beta cells in the pancrease is likely to result in death first.
Type II diabetes occurs when the body's cells cannot efficiently use the insulin produced by the pancrease. Type II diabetes is also known as adult onset diabetes. It also would not occur because of an alergic reaction to something. Obesity is the most popular contributing factor in type II diabetes simply because more cells ineffectively using insulin eventually outpaces the pancrease's ability to produce insulin fast enough. No death of pancreatic cells is involved.

Well, if it's better to be safe than sorry, you'd better climb back into that bubble. You're constantly coming in contact with things you could suffer an allergic reaction to.
--
Warren H.

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LOL My logic is not faulty. Sometimes faulty, but I don't think it is this time. Not yet. You'll have to work alot harder to convince me I'm wrong. <eg>

Now, what causes the lack of cells? It's an autoimmunal response that is TRIGGERED. Triggered by what? No one has ever identified what triggers it. The cells are attacked and killed and thus without the cells one cannot and does not produce insulin. Once the cells are identified as being a contamination to the body the body automatically sends out the killer cells to kill the pancreatic cells. It IS an autoimmunal defense. Again I emphasize it is triggered. No one knows what triggers it. I suggested an allergy could, that's all. But I think more than likely it results from an infection of some sort where the cells resemble the pancreatic insulin producing cells.

That's almost correct. Type I diabetes can occur at any time in life. Once your body's defense mechanism kicks in and starts killing your pancreatic insulin producing cells, you are then considered a juvenile diabetic. Again, it is triggered by something, and I'll mention that if your body is put into a weakened state (ie, allergic reaction)...

That is UNTRUE 100%. That is a fallacy there. Do not think of it as the allergy killing the cells. Think of it as an autoimmune response to a condition, and a cell that the body identifies as foreign has entered the body. It's not the allergic reaction, it's the fact that the allergy put the body into an enweakened state. And with the body being weaker and and foreign invasions occuring... the body's defenses going into high gear... and a cell that appears much like the pancreatic insulin producing cell... BINGO.

I won't argue with that. I'll just add my two cents. :-) Ask yourself, "Why isn't the body producing as much insulin?"
As you get older, the body stops working the way it used to in the past. This might mean that you need to eat better, excercise more to keep up with the way you used to be. It might mean you need more vitamins. The body might be lacking in something and usually in these cases it's easy to fix what is missing.

What happens during an allergic reaction? The body gets weaker. The body becomes more susceptible to disease and infection. Now, we should qualify this a little more. We should state that it happens moreso in the worst cases.

The last stuff there doesn't apply to the conversation at hand. I don't know much about Type II diabetes, other than it occurs in older folks, have problems with missing vitamins/minerals and/or have something else can be identified more specifically.

That's the story about the "Boy in the Bubble". :-)
If I knew I was allergic to them flowers, I would definitely stay away from them and I firmly stand behind, "It's better to be safe than sorry." If I knew bumble bees could kill me, I'd stay way from those as well. Better to be safe than sorry. I don't have any fear of wasps or bees, but I do fear ALL spiders. I stay away from ALL spiders.
-- Jim Carlock Post replies to newsgroup.
Jim Carlock wrote:

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You can't help it, Jim Bob.
You're just a bit addle brained from your severe allergic reaction to tryptophane from eating all that turkey on Thursday. If you're not careful, you might become diabetic as a result also. Maybe you are allergic to stuffing too?
ROTFLMAO!!!!!
wrote:

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"Cereus-validus..." wrote:

Close but no cigar. I am not Jim Bob, but you can call me Jim...

At the age of 8 I went to see a doctor about allergies. He said I was allergic to eggs, milk, all dairy products, all egg products, and a ton of other things, including the sun, and the rain. I told him I was allergic to none of those things, that I ate cookies and drank milk every day, that needles being stuck into the skin CAUSES the skin to turn red on everyone! I demonstrated that pinching myself caused the skin to turn red.
And to make matters worse for that doctor, I told him that there was NO WAY he was ever going to get me to stop eating ice cream...
In the end, I insisted I was allergic to him, his tests and his drugs. <eg> I was only 8 years old and the creep had more of an interest in selling drugs and misdiagnosing things. And between that and the first visit to an eye doctor and a first visit to a dentist, I came to the conclusion, that many doctors didn't know much of anything.

I am a diabetic. It wasn't the turkey nor the stuffing that did that though. It was drinking a Coca Cola one day, during a momentary weakness that brought about the ill effects. ;-) If I had continued on drinking ONLY water in my life at that point and eating ONLY vegetables... who knows... I drank one Coke and it raised my blood sugar enough, where I became extremely thirsty and once that started... I it became an endless circle of raising my blood sugar... that went on for weeks until I lost 20 pounds and my eye sight started going funny and I decided it was time to visit a doctor. :-)

Hmmm... it's really not that funny, but I'll laugh with you. LOL
Anyways, I had a great Thanksgiving. I hope your Thanksgiving and everyone elses was a good one. I wish well to all, including those that have relatives in Iraq as well as all the troops in Iraq.
May everyone be blessed with all that is good.
-- Jim Carlock Post replies to newsgroup. It's not too late to ask for impeachment... spread the word. http://www.votetoimpeach.org
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Whatever you say, Jimmy Joe.
You forgot to mention your allergies to irony and sarcasm.
You must have been a real pip when you were 8 and you still are.
Maybe if you go back to smoking medicinal marijuana you will be cured?

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Jim Carlock wrote:

When type II diabetes is suspected, and the patient doesn't walk into the office with an already abnormally elevated blood glucose level, or an elevated HA1C, the method of testing is to have the patient drink a highly concentrated glucose solution, and observe changes in the blood sugar levels. Drinking the test solution doesn't give someone diabetes. It is merely a test.
Drinking a Coke, and then falling into a cycle where your thirst increases, and you continue to drink more sugar-infused beverages is the same thing, just less controlled. And because it goes on for a longer period of time, may result in other symptoms beyond the thirst. The Coke didn't cause diabetes anymore than the test solution causes it. A non-diabetic could chug Coke day in, day out and not become diabetic because of it. (Of course a normal person wouldn't desire that much Coke, either.)
My diabetes was first diagnosed one summer. One very hot summer during which I thought my thirst was caused by my excessive sweating. Or at least I did until I actually realized how much of the liquid was leaving in a way other than sweating. By that time I was drinking about 3/4 gallon of soft drinks, along with a good 1/2 gallon of fruit juices a day. Add in food, and my diet was about 7000 calories a day, but I lost 20 pounds that summer. But what I ate and drank didn't cause the diabetes.
After I went through a rough couple of weeks weaning off of so much sugar (and caffeine) a day, I was able to "control" my diabetes on a normal diet, with no additional exercise. Of course as I got older, lazier, fatter, and tempted by high carb foods more often, that wasn't so any more. But none of those things *caused* my diabetes. I would have been, and was a diabetic all along.
It was an old wives tale that too much sugar caused diabetes. Too much sugar makes the diabetes symptomatic if it's already there. It doesn't have that effect if there is no diabetes. The old wives tale was more faulty logic. Coloration was mistaken for causation.
But maybe you'd rather be safe than sorry... or smart, and continue to think that Coke caused your diabetes.
--
Warren H.

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Nawh, I don't think Coke caused it. I probably could have not known I had diabetes for a while longer if I didn't drink that one Coke though. It was that one Coke that raised my blood sugar so high that my thirst became insatiable. I just use it as an old wives tale now. <eg>
Diabetes, in my case, was triggered by something. From what I've read about it, it's an over-reactive autoimmune response where white blood cells or some such attack the insulin producing cells. Your body never stops making those cells, it's just a very highly responsive defensive system that kills them. That's the way I interpret it. I don't really know for sure though.
And the way my immune system used to work, people would get the flue for a week or two at a time, it would knock me out for one day and I'd be happy go lucky the next day. And for some strange reason I have some odd control over creating heat inside my body. I just have to think my ears are warm, and they get warm. I focus upon my feet and they will get warm too. I don't know what that really means, but I know I used to do it alot when I was kid up in Illinois.
As far as type II diabetes, I don't know much about it, but I've got a feeling that it can be fixed. I'm thinking along these lines...
The body requires certain vitamins and minerals and as you age, some things slow down and don't quite work as well. This happens in pigs, cows, horses and humans. And most of these thoughts came from reading stuff that a pig farmer wrote about how to fix many things in his pigs as they aged. It all made sense and it does make sense. You just need to find out what is slowing down, what is not being produced, what can be done to induce production, etc.
For instance, just taking calcium isn't going to make your bones any stronger. Calcium needs at least two other things to make it work. It needs Vitamin D and it needs magnesium. No matter where you go or what you read, you almost always see magnesium and calcium together.
One site I visited indicated that potatoes have twice as much potassium as bananas. That kind of took me by surprise.
Well here's a useful link I think about cucumbers: http://www.botanical-online.com/pepinosangles.htm
I lost all of my links recently... bummer. Had a ton of great links. :-)
Maybe doing a search for such things as "induce pancreatic" <g> Man there's a ton of stuff out there... http://www.diabetesforum.net/eng_comp_insulinresist.htm
And I left out stuff in the previous comments about alot of other things... because I really didn't want to come out and say I had diabetes, but I thought I'd get a kick out of it if I acted like one of those kids on television... I have diabetes.
LOL Oh well. It's not that funny to anyone else but me.
That article about insulin resistance goes along with what I was saying about the body not using things the way it used to use them... and if the doctors out there are selling drugs to fix things up, that also goes along with what I'm saying.
I just don't know right at the moment about what helps produce insulin and / or what helps in the useage of insulin.
I did read that "balsam pears?" helped with diabetes in some manner. I lost the link to that article... you can find articles about it by searching for
"balsam pear" diabetes
or
"bitter melon" diabetes
I had some growing outside and was researching the ideas, when I went out and talked to the neighbor and she said, "Get rid of those, they are sour." and she started pulling them up. LOL So I helped her pull them up. Alot of places out there are selling tablets made out of the stuff.
-- Jim Carlock Post replies to newsgroup.
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This response has been rated PG13 Parental Guidance suggested. . . .
I don't know why so many people equate being better safe than sorry with living in a bubble. It's as simple as knowing not to fondle your poinsettias, not letting your kids eat them and not asking your delicate hot young non-lebanese slave girl who just rubbed all up & down her hot naked body with frankincense and myrrh to water them.
In the unlikely event somebody does get a rash then you don't have to stand around with a dumb look thinking "well it can't be the poinsettia, somebody said they're non-toxic ..." while the victim screams in agony as little blisters on their skin repeatedly break oozing pus and dark blood drips like boiling summer rain from their eyelids "... I wonder if I should call poison control or Wilfred Brimley".
At any rate, diabetes (at least type-2) can cause all sorts of neuropathies that would impair a person's normal response to avoid potentially allegeric substances. So instead of "an allergic reaction to the poinsettas that caused the diabetes" it's more likely that "because of the diabetes, the victim was unable to sense the allergic substance".
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The reason it is assinine to be safer than sorry when dealing with a non-toxic substance (such as, say, poinsettias) on the off-chance that someone MIGHT have an unpredictable allergic reaction -- is because that's true of EVERYthing. The list I gave before, that includes carrots & celery, are far more likely to cause contact dermititis than is poinsettia. One could never go out doors or even into the kitchen if this level of safe-not-sorry was applied.
Anyone with an allergy to poinsettias would also have an allergy to pencil erasers. They would not have gotten this far in life not knowing they were allergic to latex. And their allergy would have nothing whatsoever to do with normal healthy reactions (rather non-reactions) to latex.
RATIONAL safe-not-sorry is to not take chances until the facts are known. If you don't know for sure that it's a common blueberry, don't eat it; if you do know it's a common blueberry, & you still won't eat it because you'd rather be safe than sorry, then that judgement would define that idiot as a loon.
When the facts are known & someone still decides it's too dangerous, then that person is a nutcake & a loon. Period.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) wrote in

What it comes down to is you are claiming poinsettias are non-toxic even though you admit some may have an allergic reaction, and that those with allergic reactions will have at some prior time have experienced the reaction and instinctively know latex based items should be avoided.
Obviously if your allergy is extreme then yes you would probably be dead already. But if by fate or happy circumstance you've never been exposed to a blueberry and yet were allergic, sensing something amiss and still persisted in eating it, then you may not be a loon but you may end up in the hospital with your stomach pumped or in the ground pushing up daisies.
While I am not advocating wholesale avoidance of anything remotely dangerous, I am saying that people should be aware of possiblilities and not dismiss everything with a blanket statement.
Now while edible items have a different standard than non-edible ones, you have said that poinsettias are non-toxic yet you would not rub one all over your naked body. Now, being non-toxic it should be perfectly safe, why not? Would you rather be safe, and loony, than sorry?
People have their quirks and sometimes there may be an underlying reason, and even if there is not, there's no reason for condescension.
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Pencil erasers and poinsettia sap are very different, and it is not necessarily a latex allergy that causes the contact dermatitis (The reverse is not true -- there are lots of people allergic to latex, and few allergic to poinsettia sap). In fact, I know of no study that has determined what compound is involved -- severe contact dermatitis is so rare that it's a matter of case reports.
However, broad studies of poinsettia toxicity have been done, and you are absolutely correct that the rate of bad reactions verges on the idiosyncratic. For instance, see:
Krenzelok EP, Jacobsen TD, Aronis JM Poinsettia exposures have good outcomes...just as we thought. Am J Emerg Med. 1996 Nov;14(7):671-4,
From the MEDLINE abstract:
The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a much-maligned plant which is thought by the public and some health professionals to be extremely toxic. Despite pronouncements by public health officials to the contrary, the poinsettia continues to be recognized as a poisonous plant. To determine if there was any validity to the toxicity claims, 849,575 plant exposures reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers were electronically analyzed. Poinsettia exposures accounted for 22,793 cases and formed the subset that was analyzed to critically evaluate the morbidity and mortality associated with poinsettia exposures. There were no fatalities among all poinsettia exposures and 98.9% were accidental in nature, with 93.3% involving children. The majority of exposed patients (96.1%) were not treated in a health care facility and 92.4% did not develop any toxicity related to their exposure to the poinsettia. Most patients do not require any type of therapy and can be treated without referral to a health care facility.
It's a little like the old joke
"Doc, it hurts when I do this" "Then stop doing it."
There is no medical reason to be afraid of poinsettias. If one is given to contact dermatitis something, one will find out quickly and avoid it.
My wife is severely allergic to poison ivy; I am not senstive at all -- yet. Guess who gets sent out every year to clear the paths in the woods around our place. If and when I become sensitive to poison ivy/oak, I will become paranoid about avoiding it. Until then, I won't pay much attention.
billo
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