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Potato - green tubers and sprouts

Alternative names

Poisoning caused by consumption of green tubers and/or new sprouts of the potato plant.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • solanine (very toxic even in small quantities)

Where Found

The toxin is found throughout the plant but especially in green potatoes and in the new sprouts. Never eat potatoes that are spoiled or green below the skin. Always throw away the sprouts.

Potatoes that are not green and have had any sprouts removed are safe to eat.


  • body as a whole
    • hypothermia ( lower than normal body temperature )
    • paralysis
    • shock
    • fever
  • respiratory
    • slowed breathing
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat
    • dilated pupils
    • vision changes
  • gastrointestinal
    • stomach or abdominal pain
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
  • heart and blood vessels:
    • slow pulse
  • nervous system:
    • headache
    • delirium
    • loss of sensation
    • hallucinations

Home Treatment

Call poison control.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:
  • the patient's age, weight, and condition
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)
  • the time it was swallowed
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Bring the plant with you to the emergency room for identification.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed on the patient:
  • Induce vomiting.
  • Use gastric lavage .
  • Activated charcoal.
  • Treat the symptoms

Expectations (prognosis)

Death has been reported but is rare.

Update Date: 2/23/2004

Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT