These 3 Holiday Plants Can Make You Sick, Illinois Poison Center Warns

Holiday plants look beautiful, but the Illinois Poison Center encourages revelers not to use them in food or as garnishes.

NBC 5 News

A word to the wise: Keep holiday plants off the menu. If ingested, three of them in particular could put a major damper on your festivities.

While holly, mistletoe and poinsettia might look beautiful on a plate, the garnish can cause gastrointestinal distress for those who eat them, The Illinois Poison Center (IPC) warns.

"Depending on the quantity, Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettia will cause stomach upset, including nausea and vomiting, when ingested," the poison center said in a statement.

To prevent accidental consumption, the IPC encourages revelers to:
• Keep all live plants and plant material high and out of reach of small children
• Consider using netting to catch falling leaves and berries;
• Promptly clean areas of plant remnants
• Consider using the faux versions of these plants to keep children and pets safe.

“Unlike popular belief, these traditional holiday plants are not deadly when consumed,” said Michael Wahl, M.D., medical director of IPC. “However, the side effects are a bit unpleasant and can sidetrack your holiday plans.”

If you or a guest swallows any of the three holiday plants, call the IPC at 800-222-1222.

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