The consumption of the berries can be fatal for children
The cherry laurel contains glycosides in the leaves, flowers and seeds of the fruits. After chewing and swallowing, these are converted into highly toxic hydrogen cyanide in the stomach. The glycosides have a very bitter taste. Children who eat from the leaves of the cherry laurel usually spit it out again. A far greater risk of poisoning comes from the fruits, which have an aromatic sweet taste with only a slightly bitter aftertaste. Even ten chewed cherry laurel kernels can be fatal for a child. In adults, the dose increases to about fifty seeds.
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The symptoms of intoxication
You can recognize hydrogen cyanide poisoning by these symptoms:
- crimson face
- uncomfortable scratching in the throat
- a headache
- stomach pain
- Racing heart
As with all poisoning, not all symptoms always appear at the same time. Therefore, if you have the slightest suspicion of intoxication, seek medical treatment.
Attention pet owners
Cherry laurel is also poisonous to horses, cattle, cows, pigs, dogs, cats, and small animals. You can recognize poisoning in your four-legged friend by increased salivation, irritation of the mucous membranes, stomach and intestinal problems and breathing problems up to respiratory paralysis. If your pet shows these symptoms and is suspected of having eaten the cherry laurel, you should contact a veterinarian immediately.
In their homeland, the cherry laurel is a delicacy
The cherry laurel is edible when dried or cooked and non-toxic due to the decomposition of toxins. The fruits are very valued as a specialty in Turkey. However, because of their toxicity, it is better to leave the processing of the berries to the professionals.
Tips & Tricks
Because of their high hydrogen cyanide content, the leaves of the cherry laurel are used to soften and soften organic materials. This process is environmentally friendly as it does not cause any water damage and is particularly used for restoration.