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Identification of oleander (Nerium oleander L.) and detection of oleandrin, a toxic cardiac glycoside

Introduction

On 18 August 2020 the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the American Botanical Council (ABC) and other organizations issued warning letters to consumers of the herbal supplements and the general public alerting about the potential risk of ingesting any part of the oleander plant, and its constituent oleandrin. This concern was raised because of a discussion about an oleander extract as a promising treatment for COVID-19 that received significant media attention [1-3]. According to AHPA, “oleandrin is a cardiac glycoside found in the oleander plant. Oleander is a highly toxic plant, and death has been associated with oral ingestion of even small amounts of oleander leaf.” [1].

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