Oxalates in plants

Characteristics of oxalates


What are oxalates?

Oxalate (calcium and magnesium oxalate) are produced when combining plant sodium oxalate with calcium and magnesium in the body.

They are toxic to the kidneys, because they form oxalic acid crystals that do not dissolve and can be precipitated in many parts of the body including the brain. They can cause damage to the kidneys, arteries, stomach, etc.

What are oxalates effects on human body?

When eaten in large amounts, they quickly produce a state of unrest marked by the corrosiveness of the acid on the mucous membranes (The oxalic acid properties are used by the chemical industry as a bleaching agent and to remove metal oxide)

The main symptoms of oxalates are: Sore mouth, sore throat, stomach ache, thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, seizures and, if the amount ingested is high enough, cardiac arrest.

Oxalates also inhibit the absorption of certain minerals such as magnesium.

Main properties of oxalates:


Oxalates in food

Where oxalates can be found?

There are some plants, like rhubarb (Rheum officinale), with a 40% of oxalate content. Among the plants that have this component we can point out sorrels (Oxalis spp.), whose scientific name in Latin means "sour" because of its flavor.

They are edible, though, because it contains oxalates, should be eaten with caution to avoid deleterious effects mentioned above.

Other plants with high contents of these principles are purslane (Portulaca oleracea), amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus), or goosefoot (Chenopodium sp).

All the food we eat contains, in a bigger or lesser degree, a certain amount of oxalates. We should know which foods are rich in this component to take the pertinent precautions.

* Related information:

- Oxalate content in food

- Oxalates in spinach

- How to remove oxalates

punto rojo More information about oxalates in the listing above.

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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.