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Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2008 Dec;46(10):1067-70. doi: 10.1080/15563650802310929.

Human Melia azedarach poisoning.

Author information

1
Emergency Department, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

In traditional Chinese medicine, Melia azedarach (Ku-lian) is used orally and topically as an antiparasitic and antifungal agent. Although toxicity of this plant has been widely described in veterinary literature, human poisoning is rarely reported. We describe five patients with M. azedarach poisoning who recovered with supportive care.

CASE SERIES:

Five patients were identified retrospectively from the database of the Taiwan National Poison Center at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital. Three cases were on-site patients, and two were telephone consultations from outside hospitals. Neurological symptoms were the major manifestation in four cases: weakness, myalgia, numbness, and ptosis. Treatment was symptomatic and supportive; all patients recovered without sequelae.

DISCUSSION:

It is not known which limonoids are responsible for human toxicity. In the Chinese medical literature, human M. azedarach poisoning is said to occur if six to nine fruits, 30 to 40 seeds, or 400 g of the bark is consumed. Onset of symptoms typically occurs within 4-6 h, but as short as 0.5 h had been documented. In our patients, the onset of M. azedarach poisoning was variable, ranging from a few hours to up to 3 weeks after consumption of the herb.

CONCLUSIONS:

M. azedarach poisoning may result in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, or neurological effects, and death in severe cases.

PMID:
18763152
DOI:
10.1080/15563650802310929
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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