The plants listed in this article are excerpts from the lecture of Dr. Aida Aguinaldo during the Philippine Society of Clinical & Occupational Toxicology, Nov. 12-13, 2015, Holiday Inn Hotel, Clark, Pampanga.


Photos above & at  right : Jatropha plant  and seeds. Source: Dr. Laura Aguinaldo

JATROPHA (TUBA-TUBA/TubangBakod) Jatropha CurcasL.

The Red Physic Nut (Euphorbiaceae Family) grows well on marginal to poor soil and can be easily propagated from cuttings or seeds. Very common in the rural areas, in thickets and hedges along roadsides throughout the Philippines. The local name is  derived from its   cultivation and use as a hedge or fence (bakod). Introduced at an early date in colonial history from  Mexico.  It is highly resistant to drought and often used for prevention of soil erosion, or planted to reclaim soil in eroded areas in arid or semi-arid tropical or and subtropical

Many parts of the of the plants are used in various tropical countries for treatment of a variety of ailments, soap production and manufacture of organic fertilizer, the seed of   J curcasis good source of fuel for cooking and diesel engines. The seed is a good and a practical substitute for fossil fuel and income generation in rural areas of developing countries.

The seeds of J curcas are toxic to    humans, rodents, snails and livestock. Toxicity of Jcurcas seeds is distributed to several components, including saponins, lectin (curcin) phytates, protease       inhibitors and curcalonic acid and     phorbol esters. Phorbol  esters are also known purgative, skin irritant and tumor promoters but are not mutagenic or carcinogenic.

It is bitter-tart tasting, cooling (matured?), antipyretic, antispasmodic, styptic, (suppurative?)/toxic. Observe caution with internal use. Roots are emetic and purgative.


Jatropha Seeds


In a descriptive study on Jatropha Seed Poisoning by Dr Irma R. Makalinao of UP-Manila Department of Pharmacology, revealed that children had diarrhea, including blood in the stools, nausea and vomiting, and varying degrees of dehydration. Several other parts of the plant body, such as bark, fruit, leaf, root and wood contain HCN, that contributes to their toxicity. Diterpenes have been isolated from seeds.

Report of 31 cases acute poisoning in South Africa involving children from accidental      ingestion of seeds. Presenting manifestations were nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.


Photo above & on the right show Cannabis (Marijuana) plant and its parts as well as dried Marijuana. (Source: Dr. Aida Aguinaldo)


CANNABIS  (Marijuana)

Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant that includes three species, the sativa, indica and ruderalis and has seven   subspecies. It is known as Marijuana, a preparation of the cannabis plant     intended for use as psychoactive drug or medicine. The main psychoactive part of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of 483 known compounds in the plant including at least 84 other cannabinoids. The plant is indigenous to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Cannabis has long been used for hemp fiber, hemp oils, for    medicinal purpose, and as a recreational drug. Many plants have been selectively bred to produce maximum of THC which is obtained by curing the flowers.      Various compounds including hashish, and hask oil, are extracted from the plant. Globally in 2013, 60,400 kilograms of cannabis were produced legally.

In 2013, between 128-232 million people are thought to have used cannabis as recreational drug which is 2.7% – 4.9% of the global population, the ages of users were 15-65 years old.

Cannabis is often consumed for its mental and physical effects, such as “high” or “stoned” feeling, general alteration of conscious perception, heightened mood, relaxation and an increase in appetite.

Possible side effects include a decrease in in short-term memory, dry mouth, impaired motor skills, red eyes, and feelings of paranoia and anxiety.

Adverse effects include heavy, long term  exposure to marijuana may have biologically-based physical, mental, behavioral and social health consequences and be associated with the  diseases of the liver, lungs, heart, and vasculature. It is recommended that cannabis use be stopped  before and during pregnancy as it can result in negative outcomes for both the mother and baby.



THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, has low toxicity. Acute effects may include anxiety, impaired attention and memory, an   increased risk of psychiatric symptoms and possibly an increased risk of accidents if a person drives a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Short-term cannabis intoxication can hinder the mental processes of organizing and collecting thoughts.



Produces a sense of well-being, relaxation, friendliness, a loss of temporal awareness, including confusing the past with the present, slowing thought processes, impairment of short term memory, and a feeling of achieving special insights.


Can induce panic, toxic delirium, and rarely, psychosis.



Amotivational syndrome-characterized by the emergence of decreased drive and ambition. Shortened  attention span, poor judgment, easy distractability, impaired communication skills, introversion, and diminished effectiveness in interpersonal situations.


Photo above & on the right show Kratom plant as well as powdered leaves. (Source: Dr. Aida Aguinaldo)


KRATOM (Mitragynaspeciosa)

Common name is Ketum, Kratom, Kratumum,Kakuam, Ithang and Thom. It is a medicinal plant that is grown in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand. Kratom is a member of the Mitragyna plant family. A tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family. Its leaves  are used for medicinal purposes and produce psychoactive effects when chewed. It may also be drank like tea (50 grams of dried Kratom leaves boiled in one liter of water). The effect of Kratom is similar to the effect of opium or morphine.

Kratom is often used by workers in laborious or monotonous professions to stave off exhaustion as well as mood enhancer or pain killer.


Side effects includes loss of appetite and weight loss, delayed ejaculation, constipation and darkening of the skin color of the face. Chronic use has been associated with bowel obstruction. Chronic users have also reported withdrawal symptoms including irritability, runny nose and diarrhea. Withdrawal is generally short-lived and mild, and it may be effectively treated with dihydrocodeine and loperamide.


Photo above & on  the middle show Salvia as well as its flowers. (Source: Dr. Aida Aguinaldo)


SALVIA (Salvia divinorum)

A psychoactive plant which can induce   visions and other altered and spiritual experiences. It grows in shady and moist locations, the plant grows over a meter high, has hollow square stems, large leaves and occasionally, white flowers with violet calyxes.

In some part in Mexico, where they see the plant as an incarnation of the Virgin Mary and saints.

It is used remedially at a lower dosages as a diuretic, and to treat ailments including diarrhea, anemia, headaches, rheumatism, and a semi-magical disease known as swollen lamb or belly.



SALVIA (Salvia divinorum)

Salvinorin A is believed to be the ingredient responsible for the plant’s hallucinogenic effects, typically when chewed or smoked. Effects appear in five to ten minutes when chewed and maintained in the area. Smoking pure Salvinorin A, at a  dose of 200-500 micrograms, results in effects within 30 seconds and lasts for 30 minutes.

Psychological  effects includes perceptions of bright lights, vivid colors and shapes as well as body movements and body or object distortions. Other effects includes dysphoria, uncontrolled laughter, a sense of loss of body, overlapping realities, hallucinations, incoordination, dizziness and slurred speech.


Photo above Angel’s Trumpet. (Source: Dr. Aida Aguinaldo)




Angel’s Trumpet is a genus of flowering plants, all parts of the plant contain dangerous levels of poison and may be fatal if ingested by humans or animals. It is consumed as a tea for the hallucinogenic effects. Desired effects includes a sense of euphoria, however, it may actually cause hyperthermia, bizarre behavior, and severely dilated pupils. Pronounced amnesia may also occur.


For the mentioned plant toxicities and its treatment, please contact Dr. Carissa Dioquino, Head of the UP-Manila, Philippine General Hospital, National Poison Management and Control Center at telephone number 567-2057.


Article by:  Maria Teresa B. Mendoza, RN, COHN, MAN, DPA

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