Herb Poisoning Clinical Presentation

Updated: Nov 16, 2019
  • Author: Fermin Barrueto, Jr, MD, FAAEM, FACEP; Chief Editor: Michael A Miller, MD  more...
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The following questions are necessary to ascertain specific history:

  • Was the herbal preparation collected or purchased? Where?
  • What does the product purportedly contain? Is there a container, label, or picture of the product?
  • Were other individuals exposed and affected?
  • How recently and for what duration has the product been used by the patient?
  • For what purpose was the herbal product acquired? To treat what condition?

Physical Examination

Evaluate the patient for possible toxidromes such as anticholinergic syndromes or those consistent with cardiac glycosides or heavy metal poisonings, as follows:

  • Anticholinergic syndromes (ie, mydriasis, dry mucous membranes and axilla, urinary retention, tachycardia, disorientation, hallucinations)
  • Cardiac dysrhythmias (suspect cardiac glycoside or aconite toxicity)
  • Hepatomegaly and jaundice (suspect pyrrolizidine alkaloids and herbal teas)