Daphne properties and toxicity

(Daphne gnidium)


Scientific noun: Daphne gnidium L.

Common noun: Daphne, flax-leaved daphne

Family: Daphne family – Thymelaeaceae

Habitat: Mediterranean Europe and middle east. By the Mediterranean woods, shrubs and by the walls of cultivated lands.

Active components: Mezerein and daphnetoxin.

Active parts: The whole plant, especially the fruits.

How is Daphne gnidium like?

Flax-leaved daphne is a perennial shrub of the Daphne family – Thymelaceae – – up to 2m.

It has stems with leaves in the upper parts, pubescent in the inflorescence.

Leaves are unstalked, till 9 cm. long., linear- lanceolate, coriaceous, darker above, clearer and sticky below.

Male flowers are grouped in ending panicles, yellowish-white outside, whiter inside which is hairy.

Fruits in drupe, round, red, till 8 mm. in diameter.

Daphne gnidium

Flowers and fruits (Daphne gnidium)


Medicinal properties of daphne

– Herbal remedies with daphne: Traditionally, it has been used as a drastic purgative to treat constipation, specially its bark dried to be powdered.

– Home preparations with daphne: Externally used, applied in the manner of plasters, it has served to get rid of furuncles or for drying wounds. Even to kill hair lice or ticks in animals.

Considering it very poisonous, it is not advisable its use in any of the home preparations mentioned above !!!

daphnedaphne fruitdapne flower

Drawings of different parts of the plant

By courtesy of © www.dibujosparapintar.com

Toxicity of daphne

The toxicity of this plant is extreme. Used internally, it leads to a violent irritation of the intestinal mucosas of the digestive tract, up to the point of causing death, especially with the ingestion of its fruits that are particularly toxic for children

Applied on the skin, it can produce serious skin problems.

Side effects of dapne

Poisoning with this plant shows the following symptoms:

Vomiting, sometimes containing blood





– Reduction of heart beat and death in fatal cases

When applying plasters with this plant to treat skin deseases, it produces very painful blisters, so it would be better to use another treatments.

Medical treatment: Administration of vomitives, gastric lavage and dermatitis therapy.

Is dapne toxic to animals?

Daphne gnidium is very poisonous to animals. Similar symptoms to those of men are produced when animals eat its fruits, bark or leaves. It has a percentage of mortality of about a 30 %. However, it particularly attracts partridges and hens, which eat its fruits with a great devotion

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Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.