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Rev Neurol. 2003 May 1-15;36(9):860-71.

[Neurological syndromes linked with the intake of plants and fungi containing a toxic component (I). Neurotoxic syndromes caused by the ingestion of plants, seeds and fruits].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Servicio de NeurologĂ­a, Hospital Sarah, Brasilia DF, Brasil.



A wide range of plants, seeds and fruits used for nutritional and medicinal purposes can give rise to neurotoxic symptoms.


We review the neurological pathology associated with the acute or chronic consumption of plants, seeds and fruits in human beings and in animals. Of the plants that can trigger acute neurotoxic syndromes in humans, some of the most notable include Mandragora officinalis, Datura stramonium, Conium maculatum (hemlock), Coriaria myrtifolia (redoul), Ricinus communis, Gloriosa superba, Catharanthus roseus, Karwinskia humboldtiana and Podophyllum pelatum. We also survey different neurological syndromes linked with the ingestion of vegetable foodstuffs that are rich in cyanogenic glycosides, Jamaican vomiting sickness caused by Blighia sapida, Parkinson dementia ALS of Guam island and exposition to Cycas circinalis, Guadeloupean parkinsonism and exposition to Annonaceae, konzo caused by ingestion of wild manioc and neurolathyrism from ingestion of Lathyrus sativus, the last two being models of motor neurone disease. Locoism is a chronic disease that develops in livestock feeding on plants belonging to Astragalus and Oxytropis sp., Sida carpinifolia and Ipomea carnea, which are rich in swainsonine, a toxin that inhibits the enzyme alpha mannosidase and induces a cerebellar syndrome.


The ingestion of neurotoxic seeds, fruits and plants included in the diet and acute poisoning by certain plants can give rise to different neurological syndromes, some of which are irreversible.

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