Oleandrin (from the plant oleander, or Nerium oleander) has made headlines as a potential “cure” for COVID-19. Despite the hype, this plant is very toxic. Oleander contains the harmful compounds oleandrin, adynerin, and digitoxigenin. Oleander is poisonous and, when consumed, can cause serious heart problems, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, confusion, and irregular heartbeat. Multiple cases of death have been reported among both humans and animals. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the plant for use as a drug and recently denied a request for its use as an ingredient in dietary supplement products. Even though no dietary supplements that contain oleander are currently available in the U.S., other self-care products might be available online. Consumers should avoid using any products that contain oleander or oleandrin.

There is no evidence to support the safety or effectiveness of oleander or oleandrin for any health benefit, especially as a “treatment” for COVID-19.  

References

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