10 World's Most Poisonous Seeds Toxicity, Symptoms and Uses
The seed of a certain plant is its most important part in the reproduction process. Almost all plants reproduce by means of seed germination. Without seeds, only few plants could reproduce.
Many seeds are important food source for both humans and animals. There are several edible, healthy and nutritious foods such as cashew, grapes, various beans and many others. If there are edible seeds, of course there are also non-edible or toxic seeds. Some of these toxic seeds can be very fatal and can cause death – both to humans and animals. Some animals, on the other hand, are immune to the toxin they contain.
Here are some of the most toxic seeds in the world you should refrain from eating. Although these seeds are toxic, they are still useful and important somehow.
1.) Jequirity (Abrus precatorius)
Among the Ilocanos of the Philippines, Jequirity is called “Bugbugayyong”. Many newly-born Ilocano babies up to one year old wear beads made from seeds of this plant. The Ilocanos believed that the beads protect the child from bad spirits.
- Akar Saga, Bugbugayyong, Crab’s Eye, Crow Bead, Giddee Giddee, Gunja, Indian Licorice, John Pea, Jumbie Bead, Precatory Bean and Rosary Pea
- The seeds are toxic because they contain abrin which is very potent. A single seed kills an adult.
- Nausea, vomiting, convulsions, liver failure, and death after several days
- The seeds are used as beads and in percussion instrument
2.) Larkspur (Consolida)
There are about 40 species of Consolida which is commonly known as Larkspur. They are native to Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean region.
- The seeds are poisonous. Young plants are also toxic. Ingestion of the plant’s seed is often fatal.
- Nausea, muscle twitches and paralysis
3.) Common Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
The Common Foxglove or Digitalis purpurea is a flowering plant with poisonous seeds. It is endemic to Europe. It is also commonly known as Lady’s Glove and Purple Foxglove. It is poisonous to humans and animals.
- The seeds, including the leaves and the flowers, are poisonous. They contain cardiac and other steroid glycosides.
- Irregular heartbeat, general digestive upset and confusion.
- Grown as ornamental plant in a garden
4.) Henbane (Hyoscyamus Niger)
The toxic Henbane or Hyoscyamus niger was historically used in combination with other plants as an anesthetic potion. It was also used for its psychoactive properties in "magic brews”. It is also commonly known as Black Henbane and Stinking Nightshade. It is endemic to Asia and Europe.
- The seeds and foliage are poisonous containing hyoscyamine, scopolamine and other tropane alkaloid
- Hallucination, dilated pupils, increased heart beat, vomiting, convulsion, ataxa and hypertension
5.) Golden Chain (Laburnum)
The Golden Chain or Laburnum is a poisonous plant that originated in Europe. There are two species of Laburnum – the Common and Alpine Laburnum.
- All parts are poisonous but the seeds are more toxic and lethal. It contains the toxin cystine
- Intense sleepiness, excitement, vomiting, convulsive movements, severe diarrhea, staggering, slight frothing at the mouth, unequally dilated pupils, coma
- Used for cabinetmaking
- Used for musical instruments
- Used in making recorders and flutes
6.) Calabar bean (Physostigma venenosum)
The Calabar bean or Physostigma venenosum is a plant which seeds are poisonous. It is endemic to Africa. It is also commonly known as Ordeal Bean.
- The seeds contain the toxin parasympathomimetic alkaloid physostigmine.
- Copious saliva, diarrhea, anorexia, nausea, dizziness, stomach pain vomiting, headache, sweating, dyspepsia, seizures and death by asphyxiation
- Used in the treatment of myasthenia gravis, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma and delayed gastric emptying
7.) Larkspur (Delphinium)
There are about 300 species of Larkspur or Delphinium. They can be found in the Northern Hemisphere and in the high mountains of Africa. Delphinium and Consolida are closely related.
- The seeds are poisonous
- Young plants are also toxic
- The plant contains the alkaloid delsoline
- Nausea, muscle twitch and paralysis
8.) Castor Oil Plant (Ricinus communis)
The Castor Oil Plant or Ricinus communis is one of the deadliest plants on Earth. In fact, it is recognized by Guinness World Records as the most poisonous plant in the world. It is endemic to the Mediterranean, Africa and India. Its seed is called Castor Bean and is the source of castor oil.
- The seeds of the Castor Oil Plant contain ricin, an extremely toxic water-soluble protein, and other toxins.
- Burning sensation in mouth and throat, purging, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea, severe dehydration, a decrease in urine and a drop in blood pressure
- Used as a laxative
- Used as a muscle rub
- Used in cosmetics and many others
9.) Strychnine Tree (Strychnos nux-vomica L.)
The Strychnine Tree (Strychnos nux-vomica L.) is a deciduous tree that bears poisonous seeds. It is native to Southeast Asia and India. It is also commonly known as Nux Vomica, Poison Nut, Quaker Buttons and Semen Strychnos.
- The seeds, including the fruit and the bark, are poisonous and contain the highly poisonous alkaloids brucine and strychnine, an extremely bitter and deadly alkaloid.
- Intense muscle convulsions, usually kills within three hours
- Mixtures of Nux Vomica were used as a stimulant on the gastro-intestinal tract
- Used as an appetite stimulant
- Powder made from the strychnine seeds was used to alleviate indigestion
- Used to alleviate pain and can treat abscesses
10.) Moonseed (Menispermum)
The poisonous Moonseed or Menispernum bears poisonous fruits and seeds and all other parts of the plant are toxic. Some children have died by eating the fruits.
- All parts of the plants are poisonous
- Nausea, vomiting
- Grown as ornamental plant
- Used to treat skin disorders, cervical cancer and rheumatism
- Used in herbal medicine as laxative, tonic, venereal aid, dermatological aid and diuretic