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Jade Plants, Are They Poisoning You?

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When considering growing house plants, one of the most crucial factors is their safety. The last thing you’d want is to poison your pets, kids, and everyone living under your roof. For this and other reasons, jade plants are best kept and nurtured as aesthetic house plants.

Jade plants have toxicity levels but are only poisonous to humans and cause diarrhea and vomiting when ingested with a hefty dose. On the other hand, house pets such as dogs and cats are the most susceptible to its poisonous effects.

It shouldn’t prevent jade plant fanatics from embracing their love for them. Ensure a safe and conducive position for each of them around the house. Take the safety measures even more seriously when you decide to grow them outside for some reason.

Aside from the harsh weather elements, your overall safety and pets are of utmost importance. Those with susceptible skin should steer clear of jade plants until they are advised otherwise by a certified physician.

One of the most typical symptoms of poisoning from jade plants is itchy skin after coming into contact with them. It would be best to avoid the juice or sap at all costs as it also contributes to a burning sensation or itchy feeling on the skin.

Can Jade Plants Make You Sick?

It depends solely on how you handle it when under your care. Besides, the level of the ‘sickness’ effect varies depending on issues such as skin sensitivity.

For some, a short-lived skin rash will do, and they’ll be back to their normal activities like nothing happened. Others may suffer rather adverse effects, such as breathing complications accompanied by excruciating pain.

The sap, juice, or even thorns are detrimental to humans as they can cause irritations on top of the effects mentioned.

Ingesting a jade plant causes the mouth, throat, and tongue to swell in both kids and adults. After eating the jade plant or a few minutes, this might take effect soon after eating the jade plant. 

Even worse, the symptoms can manifest into more severe issues, including respiratory problems. Here are other symptoms you should be well aware of after exposing your skin to jade plants;

  • Stomach upset
  • Redness of the skin on the affected area
  • Breathing problems
  • Burning sensation on the skin

Jade plants may have slightly different effects on animals but are still negative. Pet owners need to watch out for these signs when their pets are suspected of having taken a few nibbles;

  • Excessive drooling
  • Thorough and continuous scratching
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness results in a lack of coordination of the limbs.

Contact your pet’s vet as soon as you note either or all of the symptoms listed above. 

Jade Plant Toxicity (2021)
Jade Plant Toxicity (2021)

What Toxins Make Jade Plants Poisonous?

Jade plants contain poisonous chemicals that are poisonous to animals and humans. The toxic substances in jade plants are called saponins. If eaten or swallowed, saponins may irritate both humans’ and pets’ mouths, lips, tongue, throat, stomach, and intestines. 

Even small amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression of the central nervous system, and even death.

The saponins in Jade plants remain even after the plant has been dried. Accidental poisoning of pets and children by jade plants is rare, but it can occur if the house or garden where they are kept is not fenced or secured to keep animals and children out.

The saponins in jade plants are toxic, even when dried. The most common reason for poisoning is eating the berries or leaves of the plant. Accidental poisoning in children, though rare, can occur if the plant is not kept out of reach.

The poisonous substances in jade plants are called alkaloids and saponins (which make up about 2% of the total weight of the leaves). These chemicals remain even after the plant is dead.

Saponins are a diverse group of chemicals with a soap-like foaming quality — hence the name saponin because it comes from the Latin word “Sapo,” which means soap.

How Do I Handle The Poisonous Side Of Jade Plants?

Jade plants are popular indoor bonsai plants but have one or two poisonous traits.

The most hazardous parts of the plant are its leaves, stem, and roots. All parts are toxic if ingested, so take care when handling and trimming.

Wash the affected area immediately if you get sap or other jade plant juices on exposed skin.

Jelly-like jade plant sap can also irritate your eyes and mouth, so protect these sensitive areas when working with the plant.

Jade plants in containers pose a low risk because they aren’t likely to wilt and release their sap. When handling or repotting your jade plant, wear gloves and long sleeves. One school of thought suggests wearing safety glasses to protect against errant sap.

When planting jades, it is best to keep them out of reach of pets and children, and this can be done by potting the plants at a height that is still visible but could not be “grabbed” without the risk of falling or pulling down the plant. For example, you could position planters on top of bookcases or cabinets.

If you wish to allow your younger children to keep jades in their rooms, ensure the plants are securely fastened to prevent them from tipping or falling. 

Keep them out of reach of pets by hanging them above doorknobs (so that licking the leaves is not an option), affixing them to the top of cages or aquariums, or placing them high on shelves or tables.

Are All Jade Plants Poisonous?

Yes, all parts of the jade plant are poisonous. With over eighteen species, it’s easy to subscribe to the line of thought that only a few of them are poisonous while the rest are harmless.

It’s also important to note that there is conflicting evidence as to whether this plant is safe for pregnant women or not, so if you are pregnant, check with your doctor before adding it to your indoor garden.

Despite its hardy nature, this succulent foliage contains a sap that can irritate the skin when touched or cause gastric upset if eaten. The sap will produce an allergic reaction in some people if they feel it or ingest it. 

It’s also best to avoid touching the plant because oils from the sap can remain active for 24 hours, even after pruning.

Oxalic acid is a crystalline organic acid present in some parts of the jade plant that, when ingested, forms insoluble salts and oxalates. These compounds bind iron (which helps transfer oxygen through the blood), causing poisoning by suffocating red blood cells and preventing hemoglobin from carrying oxygen. 

Some people are more sensitive than others. Symptoms of poisoning will vary depending on how much oxalic acid the person has consumed and their sensitivity levels.

The toxicity levels in jade plants are relatively low compared with other members of the Crassulaceae family, such as the Kalanchoe daigremontiana or mother-of-thousands plant. 

However, rare skin rashes resulting from exposure to the plant are treated successfully without severe consequences.

FAQ’s about Jade Plants

Conclusion on Jade Plants Are They Poisoning You?

The fact is that jade plants are poisonous depending on how they are handled. Mismanaging and mishandling them will cause them to unleash their poisonous and toxic traits.

Still, there have been reports from people who experienced negative symptoms after coming in contact with jade plants. In most cases, people develop mild symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea from ingesting leaves, stems, or sap from the plant. 

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