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Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions

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BRIEF: Are you familiar with the toxins in a Russian Olive Tree?


QUESTION:
Recently, I have heard of a case where a landscaper's finger was infected when a thorn from the Russian Olive Tree ( Elaeagnus angustifolia L.) penetrated his finger tip. although the thorn was immediately removed, and the wound was dressed, subsequent medical care was necessary. This care included surgery to drain the finger. Have you heard of this before and are you familiar with the possible toxins that may be in this species of tree? In the alternative, are you familiar with any bacteria that the tree may harbor?

ANSWER:

Russian olive does have a beta-carboline "Calligonine" which will depress blood pressure tremendously. But even a nail wound can have the result you describe, and they don't have any inherent toxins to speak of...