Toxicity of holly

Ilex aquifolium L.

Holy fruits and leaves. They are poisonous, specially the fruits

Scientific noun: Ilex aquifolium L.

Family: Aquifoliaceae

Habitat: Forests of beeches and oaks in humid climates.

Components of Holly plant

. Theobromin

– Ursolic and ilexic acid


– Rutin

– Gum

– Ilexantine

– Ilicin

Active parts

Leaves and, specially, fruits.

Uses of Holly plant


It can be used as a diuretic, febrifuge, purgative and tranquilizer. However, the toxicity of some of its components deserves some special treatment. (More information)


The bark of this plant produces a resin that is used to make a gum some bird hunter use to catch birds.

Symbol of Christmas

Because of its attractive fruits and its peculiar pricking leaves, it is one one the most used Christmas plants to ornate houses. People generally cut its branches, plenty of gorgeous red ball-like fruits. (More information on Christmas plants)


Very high. The fruits are very toxic, specially for the children, who are attracted by their bright colour. Ingesting more than 20, can be lethal for a child.


The ingestion of fruits, because of their content in ilicin, is very poisonous for the digestive tract and can produce very irritating effects in the stomach or intestines. Their principles can attack the nervous system and heart.

Their big content in resins can produce intestinal obstructions.


Vomiting, swallowing difficulty, blurred vision, irregular heartbeat, respiratory difficulty, convulsions and, in more extreme cases, death.


Induced vomiting, gastric lavage, artificial respiration, respiratory stimulants and laxative administration.


More information about natural medicine.

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

4 July, 2020

Other interesting articles

This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical-online" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.