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The hyacinth is a bulbous plant that reaches a height of up to 40 cm. The glossy, green leaves are the origin of the inflorescence. Depending on the type of cultivation, the flowers are pink, red, blue or white in colour. The tubular buds emit a very pleasant, sweet smell. Hyacinths originally come from the Mediterranean region and southwest Asia.


For pets

How dangerous is the plant for animals?

Hyacinths are poisonous to pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as to horses, sheep and goats. The ingredients of the plant irritate the mucous membrane and severe problems in the gastrointestinal tract can occur.

Typical symptoms of hyacinth poisoning are:

  • profuse salivation and pain when swallowing
  • watery diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting (the latter does not occur in horses)
  • Gastrointestinal pain, especially in horses, leads to severe colic

For the people

Toxicity of hyacinth to humans

There are plant species that are poisonous only to animals. However, this does not apply to hyacinths, the plant is equally dangerous for humans and animals. This is also the reason why hyacinths are not used in natural medicine. At times, the bulbs of the plant were used as a treatment for jaundice, but the side effects (hyacinth scabies) were too strong and the plants are no longer used today. In humans, too, the consumption of parts of plants mainly leads to symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract.

Typical symptoms are:

  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • nausea
  • severe abdominal pain


How is hyacinth scabies formed?

The hyacinth contains calcium oxalate, which has a strong irritating effect on human skin. In nurseries, employees often report a itch-like skin appearance when they frequently handle the plants. This side effect is usually without consequences for an adult, but children should not handle the plant without protection.

plant parts

Which parts of the hyacinth are poisonous?

Hyacinths are classified as slightly toxic and this applies to all parts of the plant. Both the stalk, as well as the flowers and seeds contain irritants that can disturb the human and animal organism. However, the causes of toxic reactions vary depending on the part of the plant consumed.


The leaves and flower stalks contain salicylic acid, which mainly affects the gastrointestinal tract. However, if large amounts of these parts are consumed, kidney damage and respiratory paralysis can occur in an emergency. The lethal dose for animals is not yet known.


The onions contain calcium oxalate as a toxin, which also has its main effect on the gastrointestinal tract. However, there are also skin symptoms that can manifest themselves in scabies. The main symptoms of consumption are vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.

onions and seeds

Onions and seeds also contain saponins, which can also cause skin irritation. What initially begins as itching manifests itself in severe cases as bloody skin with severe signs of inflammation. In this case, treatment is with cortisone to heal the inflammation.

First aid

When eaten

First aid when eating hyacinths

If a pet or a child has eaten parts of hyacinths, this is not a medical emergency, but should still be clarified by a doctor. As a first aid measure for children, the administration of large amounts of liquid has proven itself, but no milk. Water and tea are best. Medicinal charcoal is also administered to relieve severe diarrhea and bind toxins.

In any case, a call to the poison control center is recommended, where further measures will be discussed. The affected animal should be presented to the veterinarian or the emergency veterinary service if the symptoms are severe. Children should also be taken into medical care, and the pediatrician should take care of an emergency without an appointment. If the incident occurs outside the general practice opening hours, a visit to the medical on-call service is usually sufficient. The emergency doctor is only the best choice if there are severe symptoms or a loss of consciousness.


Consequences if the plant is inadvertently eaten

As a rule, life-threatening reactions to the consumption of the plant are not to be expected. This is especially true when only small portions have been consumed. The symptoms usually last between 24 and 48 hours and then go away on their own. However, the administration of soothing medication is standard, especially for children and pets, since the abdominal symptoms are uncomfortable. How severe the symptoms are depends largely on the amount of plant parts consumed.


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