Red & green leaves on Poinsettia contain Latex
Houseplants and Latex
Sounds a funny thing to connect indoor plants to latex, doesn't it? Well, it is not all that silly.
People who have a severe latex allergy may have eliminated as many things as possible from their surroundings but who would have thought that you would have to look at houseplants as well?
The good news is that generally speaking having plants inside the house is very beneficial. There are only a few plants that affect people with latex allergies.
When people became a little more affluent a few years after WWll, plants started
to appear in homes. In the 1960s and 70s the in plants to have were a ficus and a rubber tree. If you had these in your loungeroom you were with it. They were tough, hardy plants. Before these plants made headway into our homes, not many plants were grown indoors.
In the 1920s (I'm not THAT old), the good old Aspidistra was the mainstay of indoor plants. They were just so hardy and tolerated the dim light in the homes of that era. Occasionally a maidenhair fern would be carefully nurtured but only by the more well-to-do.
There are three more common plants that people with a latex allergy should be careful of. These are Ficus, Rubber Tree and Poinsettia.
The Ficus is a large leafed plant that grows quickly. It is very hardy. However the sap of the plant contains allergenic proteins similar to the latex protein. See the connection?
The Latin name of the Rubber Tree is Ficus elastica. Do you need to be told anymore? Yes, elastic is that stretchy stuff that keeps our undies up. It can give people a rash if it is next to the skin. It is also in the sap of the plant.
When we were newly married our first home had a beautiful poinsettia tree about two metres high right outside our bedroom window. It had magnificent reds and greens. The large leaves moved gently in the breeze and sent beautiful dappled shadows into our bedroom. We always had the windows open. I wonder was it because of this beautiful tree that I spent so much time lying on the bed with exhaustion and asthma?
Poinsettia is often given as a gift at Christmas time because it has bright red leaves coming out above bright green leaves. It looks spectacular.
Some people may get strong reactions to poinsettias, either respiratory or skin rashes.
Poinsettias are in the genus Euphorbia. They are in the Spurge family. The Spurge family has milky sap. It is advisable not to get this sap on your hands. The milky sap contains the latex substances.
Euphorbia is used in herbal medicines, Chinese medicine and in Homeopathy. If your naturopath or herbalist ever suggests you have Euphorbia and you have a latex allergy, be wary. In Homeopathy, the medicine, although it starts off with the original substance, works on the energy of the plant, more like flower essences, so there will not be any of the physical plant in the homeopathic medicine.
What you can do if you have these plants
If you have these plants in your house, perhaps you can move them to an unused room. If that is still no good for you, move them outside. In Australia all these plants grow very well outside. In colder regions they may have to be in a sunroom. If they are still affecting you then give them away to someone else who will appreciate them.
I am a trained Natural Therapist, Teacher, published Author and Artist who lives on the south eastern coast of Australia.
Click here to see info on my book about Allergies and Chronic Fatigue
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The topics on this site are the opinion of the author and as such are only for research and educational purposes. Any products used or statements made are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Always use your own best judgment and consult a medical professional when making important health care choices.