Avocado Leaves Safety

Avocado tree (Persea americana) originates from Central America and is now cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions for the production of avocado fruits. A fatty oil present in the pulp of the fruit is a much valued ingredient in cosmetics.

The active ingredient, termed persin (a toxic fatty acid derivative), from avocado leaves has been identified as (Z,Z)-1-(acetyloxy)-2-hydroxy-12,15-heneicosadien-4-one. Persin is generally harmless to humans.

Birds, goats, horses, sheep, cats, cattle, rodents, fish, and dogs frequently get poisoned while feeding on or chewing avocado leaves, bark, skin, or pit. The main symptoms of poisoning are difficult breathing, abnormally high and irregular heart rate, and accumulation of fluids in the lungs, abdomen, and around the heart. In horses, persin causes equine colic which, if left untreated, leads to death.

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