What if I Touched Pokeweed with Bare Hands- Side Effects and Treat Symptoms 

ALERT…ALERT!! Have you ever thought that touching a random plant can be poisonous? You might be wondering what I am saying, but trust me, you will be shocked to hear this.

When I came across pokeweed, I learned that pokeweed is a poisonous plant when touched with bare hands. Yes, it’s true; touching pokeweed can have a lot of side effects.

If you have pokeweed in your garden then there are certain things you need to know, such as how to treat contact with pokeweed, which parts of the pokeweed are harmful, etc. So without wasting time, let’s get to know them more closely.

Key Takeaways:

  • Touching any part of the plant from the berries, root, or cut stem consists of toxic phytolacca proteins In your body which will cause skin irritation respiratory harness, and harm your digestive system.
  • If you eat any part of the pokeweed plant there will be symptoms like nausea, severe stomach pain, and vomiting, And you will also suffer from issues like cardiac problems, seizures, and even death.
  • If you want to prevent any poisoning or skin irritation you need to wear protective cloth and gloves while handling the plant.
  • If you are having any skin rashes you need to go for medical attention.

Is Pokeweed Poisonous to Touch?

When you come in contact with the Pokeweed then we can understand the danger that is associated with this plant as this plant is in dark purple black berries that have red stems and even it also catches our eyes but beneath it seems harmless.

If you touch the Pokeweed without gloves then after a month you can realize the discomfort as well as skin irritations and even allergic reactions.

Even crushed berries also lead to irritation and it also imitates itchy sensations in the nose. As Pokeweed is poisonous to touch and it is very important to know that for many pets or animals, it is harmful as it is a hazardous plant.

But one of the important key factors of the Pokeweed plant is it is a valuable food source for many birds. It does not extend to humans and pets as they should avoid consuming it.

What if I Touched Pokeweed with Bare Hands- Side Effects and Treat Symptoms 

The Toxicity of Pokeweed:

Triterpene Saponins,  phytolaccigenin, and phytolaccatoxin are some of the most toxic compounds in the pokeweed as these plants are poisonous in nature and even hurt people when they come in contact with the plant even if they ingest it.

You can also face many problems when you come in contact with the Pokeweed. 

Avoiding Touching Pokeweed

It is important to exercise caution to stay safe from the Pokeweed and it is important to stay away from the stem, roots, ripe berries as well as the seeds of the Pokeweed. 

This plant also contains some toxic compounds that can have long-term negative effects on our health and it is important that you should maintain your precautions and you should avoid coming in contact with this plant in any way.

The Consequences of Touching Pokeweed:

Once pokeweed comes in direct contact with your skin then you can feel some rashes these rashes can be caused by poison oak or poison Ivy. There are some major symptoms of this rash you can notice including redness, blister formation inflammation, intense itching, and even the development of blisters on the skin. It is important to be treated at home with some proper care with the requirements of medical attention.

Understanding Pokeweed Toxicity.

Pokeweed contains some toxic substances like phytolaccigenin and phytolaccatoxin. the main symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting that can occur within 2 to 4 hours of consuming it. Snake poison is also dangerous due to its potential to cause some major side effects.

You can also experience some gastrointestinal system that includes fluid loss or low blood pressure and in this case, the reaction can result in an inside effect such as weakness, respiratory depression, and even some major unconsciousness.

Recognizing the Scientific Evidence.

It’s essential to recognize that scientific studies back up the idea of pokeweed being toxic. Even though Native Americans traditionally used pokeweed for both culinary and medicinal purposes, the current emphasis is on utilizing its healing properties safely and efficiently.

Toxicity as a Defense Strategy:

Many plants including backyard grass and weeds such as pokeweed include some toxic substances that help to protect against animal conception and even this plant may not cause any animal facilities that can process trouble When it is consumed.

 It is poisonous when it is touched as there are many toxic components that are present on the plant and once you come into indirect contact with the weeds then it can cause some adverse reactions that can affect people with broken skin.

What Are the Side Effects of Pokeweed?

Pokeweed contains Phytolaccine which is more powerful than is irritant as it can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms in mammals as well as in humans. 

These Pokeweed plants are more poisonous as it includes stems, roots, leaves as well as berries and even other older plants also contain high concentrations of the phytolaccine as these berries are more poisonous when it is green.

If it is eaten then the Pokeweed can cause some symptoms that include:

  • Abdominal cramps and spasms
  • Burning sensation in the mouth, esophagus, and throat
  • Diarrhea 
  • Difficult in breathing 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Headache 
  • Vomiting 
  • Irregular heart rate

If any part of the plant if comes in contact with broken skin then the person will experience less severe but the same symptoms. Many people are used to contacting dermatitis when they touch a plant with broken skin and feel trigger inflammation and a painful, blistering rash. 

How To Treat Symptoms Of Pokeweed Contact 

Here are some of the  symptoms that you can treat when you come in contact with pokeweed:

If you see that you have rashes then you can treat it by using poisonous ivy, oak, or chickenpox but keep in mind to avoid scratching it as it can spread all the rashes to your body.

You can also apply topical hydrocortisone ointment as it will help you in relieving the itching but you should avoid using products that contain benzocaine or antihistamines as they can worsen your situation. 

First Aid Steps:

If the situation is mild it will improve within a few days by using an anti-itching cream and pain relievers but in case the symptoms are more severe you need to take the following precautions which will help you to recover:

  • Call a local emergency for help and for poisoning control you can call at 1-800-222-1222 right away.
  • You can also provide as much information as possible as it will include the amount and even the time of exposure for indigestion and it will also affect a person’s General Health status.
  • Do not induce vomiting as it will be instructed by healthcare professionals.
  • You need to collect the sample of what is ingested. 

What parts of pokeweed are harmful for Humans to touch? 

Even all parts of the Pokeweed contain phytolacca toxins as well as phytolaccigenin proteins as this means that each plant of the Pokeweed such as roots, stems, loaves and even berries is harmful. 


  • The roots of pokeweed have a high concentration of toxic biochemicals that help us to remove this plant but you should be more careful when you are removing it from the soil as before removing pokeweed from the soil.
  • you should maintain your safety precautions as it is highly recommended for your health even for your children as well as pets at home. 
  • You can also remove the entire taproot with the help of your gloves.


  • Berries are biotoxins as they contain liquid that can easily spread to our body and is harmful to us. 
  • Even if you are removing a Pokeberry, one of the most important factors that you should keep in your mind is that you should wear rubber gloves as if you are removing this plant. 
  • The single plant can produce tens of thousands of seeds that can stay in the soil for about 40 years.
  • it is highly recommended that you can’t eat or touch these pokeberries

Leaves and stems:

  • If anyone touches pokeweed leaves as well as the stem of pokeweed with your hand then you have to use toxic oil to seep into your skin and affect your blood. 
  • Even if you skip wearing rubber gloves when handling this plant.
  • if you are children as well a dog touches this plant or the leaves or stem of pokeweed.
  • later if they touch the face then it could be dangerous to them.
  • for many animals, it could be a dangerous experience as they will face some fatal symptoms when digesting pokeweed leaves or stems.


Seeds are berries that contain poisonous juice and even the seeds are inside and they are toxic as well as the roots that remove all the seeds of the plant from your property.

The Dangers toxins in Pokeweed: 

Pokeweed consists of toxins such as Phytolaccatoxin, phytolaccigenin, and Triterpene Saponins and the main factors of these toxins are they cause weakness, unconsciousness, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle spasms, stomach pain, respiratory depression as well as convulsions.

Even proteins are also found in pokeweed such as hemagglutinin, mitogenic and antiviral proteins as all of them can cause eosinophilic as well as thrombocytopenia when it is touched by damaged skin or when it is consumed.

Many people also argue that pokeweed is not toxic and there is scientific evidence that supports that the plants are poisonous in nature and used in food as well as in medicine for many years and even many researches are now being focused on the development of new medicines. 

Final Thoughts:

Yes, pokeweed looks beautiful but also holds a secret of being highly toxic so they are poisonous to touch and will cause skin irritation which will also cause severe symptoms.

Avoid eating any part of the plant that will be dangerous to you and will cause nausea, stomach pain, and other problems.  


Is it possible that pokeweed can kill you?

The plant does consist of a toxin protein called phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin Which may cause irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, and oxygen deprivation. if not treated on time it will result in the death of the person.

Becky Decker

Becky Decker, our esteemed Editor-in-Chief, is a passionate gardener with years of experience in the world of horticulture. With her guidance, BonjourGreen.com aims to be your trusted companion on your gardening journey. Featured In   Becky Decker’s expertise and gardening wisdom have been recognized and featured in various prominent publications, including:   Homesandgardens.com Yahoo.com Urbansplatter.com Inkl.com Foliagefriend.com Yahoonews  Experience & Background   Becky Decker’s love for gardening has been a lifelong journey. She has honed her skills through countless seasons of planting, nurturing, and harvesting a wide variety of plants, flowers, and vegetables. Her deep-rooted knowledge is complemented by her Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from the University of Green Valley.   Prior to leading BonjourGreen.com, Becky worked as a garden consultant, helping countless individuals turn their outdoor spaces into vibrant, thriving gardens. Her experience spans over a decade, making her a trusted authority in the gardening community.   The Birth of BonjourGreen.com   Inspired by her passion for gardening and her desire to share her expertise with a wider audience, Becky Decker launched BonjourGreen.com in 2021. This platform serves as a hub for gardening enthusiasts of all levels, from beginners to seasoned pros.   At BonjourGreen.com, we are committed to providing you with comprehensive guides, expert advice, and hands-on tips to help you achieve success in your gardening endeavors. Whether you have a small balcony garden or a sprawling backyard paradise, we have the information you need to make your garden flourish.   Our Mission   BonjourGreen.com is more than just a gardening website; it’s a community of gardeners who share a common love for nurturing the Earth. Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge and resources to create beautiful, sustainable gardens that bring joy and tranquility to your life.   Join Us on This Green Journey   We invite you to explore BonjourGreen.com and embark on your gardening journey with us. Whether you’re seeking advice on planting techniques, pest control, landscaping ideas, or the latest gardening trends, you’ll find it all right here.   Connect with us, ask questions, and share your gardening stories. Together, we’ll cultivate a thriving community of gardeners and help each other make the world a greener, more beautiful place.   Let’s dig in and grow together at BonjourGreen.com, where gardening dreams bloom!

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