Is Pokeweed Poisonous To Touch? What to Do If You Touched Pokeweed?

Pokeweed, also known as American Pokeberry, is an herbaceous plant with a poisonous root that thrives in North America. Pokeweed can grow as a small plant, a shrub, or a tree. You can easily recognize it by looking at its magenta stems and the long leaves. During the spring, the plant displays tiny white flowers, which in the summer turn into berries. Their red dye helps color wine, cloth, paper, and candies.

Quick Answer:

You might also get rashes or other skin irritations from touching the leaves. Indeed, this plant contains a highly toxic substance that does no good to our bodies. And the toxins can pass through the skin into the bloodstream, causing severe issues. So, avoid touching pokeweed with your bare hands.

But despite its delicate looks, pokeweed is one of the most dangerous plants to humans and animals. When ingested, pokeweed can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, incontinence, and other serious side effects.

Is Pokeweed Poisonous To Touch?

If you are wondering: “is pokeweed poisonous to touch?” you are in the right place. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about this toxic plant.

What Should You Know About Pokeweed?

Every part of pokeweed contains the phytolacca toxin, which means you should stay away from its roots, leaves, stem, and berries. While toxicity levels might vary depending on the part you touch (and its age), you should stay away from pokeweeds to avoid trouble.

The roots of this plant have the highest concentration of toxic biochemicals. Still, if you have children and small kids in your house, you should not leave pokeweed on your property.

And removing this plant from the ground is the most effective way to get rid of it from your property. But you must ensure you do so with great care.

Take out the entire taproot and all the parts left behind: you can use your hands (protect them with gloves) or a weed puller. If the plant is large, dig a circle around the root ball and remove the taproot.

While Pokeweed berries might look attractive, you should refrain from picking them: their juice can threaten your internal organs and cause damage. Even if you might have read somewhere that drinking pokeweed tea is a good idea, you shouldn’t.

Indeed, these plants contain toxins that could result in distressing side effects. And they can even interact with some medications!

Within two to six hours from ingestion, you might experience symptoms of hemorrhagic bowels, nausea, and vomiting. Severe cases experience convulsions, spasms, and low blood pressure that might lead to the loss of consciousness. If that happens to you or one of your family members, quickly seek medical help.


What To Do If You Touched Pokeweed?

 

You might notice pokeweed on your property and need to remove it. We recommend you wear protective clothing to avoid touching any part of the plant. Indeed, coming in direct contact with this plant’s juices might start a chemical reaction in your body that will damage the respiratory and digestive systems.

You might also get rashes or other skin irritations from touching the leaves. Indeed, this plant contains a highly toxic substance that does no good to our bodies. And the toxins can pass through the skin into the bloodstream, causing severe issues. So, avoid touching pokeweed with your bare hands.

But what can you do if you accidentally touch pokeweed? It depends on the circumstances. If the result is only a mild rash, you can cure that at home. Avoid scratching: it will only facilitate the spread of the toxins in your body. Instead, wash your hands immediately after touching pokeweed with cool water and soap.

Doing so will help you absorb toxins. Also, you can apply topical ointments to alleviate the itch. Don’t use anything with antihistamines or benzocaine. You can also apply cool compresses to the skin to ease inflammation.

With proper care, the rash should disappear in a couple of days. But if you present more severe symptoms, don’t hesitate to call for emergency help!

If you present side effects from touching pokeweed, you should call medical assistance. Avoid inducing vomit: inhaling it can poison the lungs too! Provide the assistant with as much information as possible: mention how much time has passed and your (or your family member or friend’s) general health status.

Treatment involves gastric lavage, laxatives, and supportive care. Hospital observation might be necessary. With the proper care, the conditions will improve within a couple of days.


Is Pokeweed Poisonous To Touch?: The Bottom Line

So, yes, pokeweed is poisonous and can be a threat even if you only touch it. Stay away from it and if you have to remove it, make sure you use protective gear.

None likes to experience poisoning! But don’t forget to seek medical assistance if you notice severe symptoms!

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