Tomatoes toxicity

Are tomatoes dangerous?


tomato plant
Tomato plant with flowers and leaves

The plant that produces tomatoes is a member of the Solanaceae family. Like other species of this family, the whole of it is poisonous, other than fruit, the tomatoes. So you can not eat the stems, leaves or stems of the fruit in order not to become intoxicated.

In fact, this plant from Mexico, began to be cultivated in Europe until the eighteenth century as an ornamental plant in gardens and not as food, because it was considered a toxic plant.

Toxic components of tomato

Tomato is toxic because it contains poisonous components. The principal is an alkaloid called solanine. Other components are toxic glycoalkaloid tomatine and some glycoproteins.

What parts of the plant are toxic?

The main parts of the plant that contain solanine, the main poison, are the stems, leaves and green fruits.

Do tomatoes also contain solanine and tomatine?

Tomatoes, when green, also contain these principles. As they mature, they lose them, so that, when ripe, the amount you have is too small to be considered toxic.

Since half-ripe tomatoes still contain much solanine, it is convenient to eat ripe tomatoes to make them more healthy and digestible. Furthermore, as they mature, their content in lycopene and other healthy components increase.

It is inappropriate to eat green tomatoes because they can cause intestinal problems. If fully green, they can even can cause similar poisoning to the rest of the plant. When they are not completely mature, they can cause indigestion.

Moreover, it is suspected that tomatine in tomato, especially when green, can trigger migraines.

Symptoms of poisoning by ingestion of tomato

The ingestion of the plant produces gastrointestinal, liver and heart damage which can lead to death, in case that the intake is very high.

When applied externally, tomato juice or even contact with it when growing it can produce skin irritation, even blisters. Distillation

Similar symptoms occur in animals, that have been fed on its shoots.

Symptoms of poisoning may sometimes be confused with those produced by bacterial gastroenteritis. Among the most common are vomiting, even bloody, diarrhea, increased heart rate with subsequent slowing of same, respiratory problems, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac arrest and death.

More information about tomatoes.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

16 March, 2021

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