How poisonous is the rowanberry for children, dogs and cats?

Almost everyone has heard the sentence that rowan berries – also known as mountain ash – are highly toxic. Usually it is small children who are warned by their mothers and fathers. But is this a myth or is the plant really highly toxic? And how does it explain that there is even rowanberry jam?

mountain ash

A portrait of the rowan tree

Rowanberry trees are found all over Europe, very often they stand on the side of the road or line avenues. The trees, however, are cultivated in North America. Since there are only minimal demands on the soil, the plants, which are up to 15 meters high, can thrive over many years without any problems. The tree is recognizable due to its light gray bark on the trunk, which becomes cracked in old age but appears smooth and shiny when young.


Rowanberry as a poisonous plant – which parts are dangerous?

It is actually true that mountain ash – as rowan berries are also called – is to a large extent poisonous. The fruits are affected, which can lead to severe gastrointestinal complaints when immature. Nevertheless, the rowan tree is estimated to be slightly toxic. The danger going only from unripe fruits, since they contain more parasorbic acid. Due to this ingredient, the fruit tastes very bitter, so that animals like cats usually do not consume large amounts. The situation is different for leaves that do not contain bitter substances

Tip: All parts of the tree are non-toxic, except for the foliage. In large quantities, this can lead to the formation of hydrocyanic acid in the body.

For pets

How toxic are rowan berries to cats and dogs?

Cats are pleasure animals, they usually do not eat anything that they do not like. The risk that a cat eats rowan berries on a large scale is low because the berries are very bitter. But the foliage is usually not despised by the house tiger and there is little toxicity here. There are no life-threatening consequences if consumed, but there is a risk of an impact on the gastrointestinal tract.

The danger is that there is hydrogen cyanide in damaged leaves or that it is formed in the stomach. Hydrogen cyanide attacks the gastrointestinal mucosa and can lead to the following symptoms.

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • in high dose colic

What to do when consumed?

What to do if the pet eats rowan berries?

In all As a rule, the rowanberry or the foliage of the tree hardly harms the animals. If symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract occur, symptomatic treatment is sufficient. This is relief from vomiting, cramps and diarrhea. Veterinary monitoring may only be necessary if very large amounts of the leaves have been consumed. The Poison Control Center has important information for pet owners.

For children

How toxic is rowanberry to children?

A child’s organism is usually more sensitive than an adult’s. Accordingly, symptoms of poisoning appear more quickly in children and often have more severe symptoms. Immature rowan berries can lead to unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms in large quantities. As with cats and dogs, affected people suffer.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • Stomach and intestinal cramps

What to do when consumed?

If a child has inadvertently ingested unripe rowan berries, the child should pediatrician or the emergency medical service can be contacted. Even with small amounts, the appropriate medication can quickly alleviate the symptoms. The Poison Control Center is also a good contact.

The consumption of cooked rowan berries is of course not an emergency; larger quantities can also be consumed here without causing overreactions.


The rowanberry for consumption

Few people know that rowan berries are not only low in toxicity, but are also edible. However, this only applies to the cooked state, raw poisoning threatens. The parasorbic acid, which causes the intolerance, is destroyed by the cooking process and no longer does any harm. The fruits are suitable for the production of jelly, jam or chutney, their taste is reminiscent of cranberries and they are often served with game dishes.

However, rowanberries not only make an extremely tasty jelly, they are also healthy. The berries contain large amounts of vitamin C, which is why they were used as a remedy for scurvy in earlier years. However, not only the rowanberry itself is used, but also the foliage and the flowers. This is brewed as a tea in natural medicine against various ailments. The tea made from rowanberry leaves is popular for bronchitis or colds. However, there is no scientific evidence of effectiveness.


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Christina Cherry
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