The Poisoned Weed: Plants Toxic to Skin

Overview

Over-two thirds of the U.S. population is allergic to poison oak, poison ivy, or a related plant. These and many other common plants in our homes, fields, and gardens are irritants that cause misery to many. But surprisingly, there has never been a general guide to help raise awareness of them—and to help avoid them. This new book reviews the history, occurrence, classification, toxicity, and health aspects of all the major allergenic and irritant species.

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Overview

Over-two thirds of the U.S. population is allergic to poison oak, poison ivy, or a related plant. These and many other common plants in our homes, fields, and gardens are irritants that cause misery to many. But surprisingly, there has never been a general guide to help raise awareness of them—and to help avoid them. This new book reviews the history, occurrence, classification, toxicity, and health aspects of all the major allergenic and irritant species.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Patricia Wong, MD (Stanford University Medical Center)
Description: This is an educational little book that is enjoyable to read. The author has a PhD in chemistry and plant biology and has done a good job summarizing the different plants, their oils, airborne pollens, and their fragrances that can contribute to dermatitis. Chemical structures are provided in detail and the chemistry used to study these plants is covered: vapor pressure of volatile dermatotoxic chemicals, etc.
Purpose: The purpose is to educate practitioners about allergic contact dermatitis and irritant dermatitis. Readers could take this one step further and use the book in planning their gardens to be potentially less inflammatory to their skin. Anyone who has a job outside and has had periodic skin problems may want to refer to this book or refer their physician to the book to identify precipitants.
Audience: The audience is anyone with occupational exposure to plants, biology students, physicians caring for patients with plant exposure and anyone who likes plants. The book deals with history, chemistry, prevention, and cross reactivity of plants.
Features: Color photographs of some of the more common nasty plants causing allergic dermatitis are included. I found myself wishing the author had written the book like the encyclopedia section of the Sunset Western Garden Annual (Sunset, 2004) with pictures of all the plants, but instead of including their growth requirements list their potential toxicities. I like the writer's style; it is like reading a story filled with all sorts of interesting facts.
Assessment: I've read a lot of the books on this subject and this is by far the most readable. There are more comprehensive books written by MDs, but it's always good to have another perspective on the topic and this book is worth reading before you decide to plant that fig tree you've always coveted!

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195155488
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/16/2004
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Setting 3
2 Poison Oaks, Poison Ivies, and Relatives 22
3 Other Allergenic Plants 39
4 Phototoxic and Irritant Plants 66
5 Allergens Related to Urushiol 87
6 Other Plant Allergens 108
7 Phototoxic and Irritant Constituents 128
8 Exposure 151
9 Adverse Effects 172
10 Prevention and Treatment 193
Appendices 207
References 215
Glossary 247
Index of Plant Names 251
Index of Chemical Common Names 259
General Index 263
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