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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 83

A case of "poison seed" ingestion: A toxicology ordeal

Department of Internal Medicine, Alvas Health Centre, Moodabidri, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication21-Jan-2016

Correspondence Address:
Sadananda B Naik
Alvas Health Centre, Moodabidri - 574 227, Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-9727.174669

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How to cite this article:
Naik SB. A case of "poison seed" ingestion: A toxicology ordeal. Muller J Med Sci Res 2016;7:83

How to cite this URL:
Naik SB. A case of "poison seed" ingestion: A toxicology ordeal. Muller J Med Sci Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Mar 21];7:83. Available from: https://www.mjmsr.net/text.asp?2016/7/1/83/174669

Dear Editor,

A 17-year-old student was brought to the emergency department of our hospital with a history of alleged consumption of one half of an unknown seed that was lying on the playground where an Agro exhibition was held couple of weeks back. She was apparently healthy for about an hour after eating till her friends told that, it could be a poisonous seed. She complained of vague abdominal pain, nausea, and giddiness. There was no history of syncope, muscle weakness, palpitation, or seizure. Clinical examination of the patient was essentially normal with normal pulse, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. Examination of the cardiovascular system, nervous system did not reveal any abnormality.

The investigations that included blood counts, hemoglobin, renal and liver function tests, and electrolytes were normal. The electrocardiogram and chest x-ray were also normal. A stomach wash with ryles tube was performed and she was managed with parenteral ranitidine and intravenous (IV) fluids. She was continuously monitored for cardiac arrhythmias. Meanwhile thorough efforts were made to identify the "culprit" seed. Many botanists, toxicologists, agriculture experts were shown the seed either in person or digitally. Most of them expressed their inability to identify the seed. An ayurvedic physician felt that it could be the seed of Cerebrum odollam a neurotoxic plant. On hearing this possibility, there was sudden panic among the relatives and the patient was shifted to a nearby super-specialty hospital. The patient was further observed in the multi-specialty intensive care unit and she did not have any further problems. However, there was little progress in the identification the seed.

Next day morning, the patient's grandmother visited her and expressed her desire to see the "toxic" seed. Immediately, after seeing the seed she burst into a big laughter and she urged the treating doctors to discharge her granddaughter immediately. She instantaneously identified the seed as the one from a nontoxic palm tree Caryota urens.[1],[2] The patient was observed for another day in the hospital and was discharged subsequently.

Folk knowledge is nothing but amalgamation of the experience of our ancestors for hundreds of years that was passed on to generations. Folk wisdom has some valid points based on observation. It may need refinement, here and there, but no good scientist ignores a good lead as seen in our case. Folk wisdom could be of a great asset to the mankind if analyzed under the ambit of modern science.

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There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Smita R, Sangeeta R, Kumar SS, Soumya S, Deepak P. An Ethnobotanical Survey of Medicinal Plants in Semiliguda of Koraput District, Odisha, India. Bot Res Intl 2012;5:97-107.  Back to cited text no. 1
Everett Y. The Kitul palm: Ethnobotany of Caryota urens L. in highland Sri Lanka. J Ethnobiol 1995;15:161-76.  Back to cited text no. 2


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