FRIDAY, Aug. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Experts have slammed claims by a major Trump donor that an extract from a deadly plant is a cure for COVID-19.
The president was enthusiastic about the drug, called oleandrin, when told about it at a White House meeting last month, according to Mike Lindell, the chief executive of My Pillow, The New York Times reported. Lindell has a financial stake in the company that makes the compound and sits on its board.
Scientists warn that ingesting even a tiny bit of the toxic shrub from which the compound is extracted can be deadly, and no studies have shown that oleandrin is safe or effective as a COVID-19 treatment, The Times reported.
Oleandrin is derived from oleander, a flowering shrub that is popular with landscapers but causes many cases of accidental poisoning. Oleandrin is the chemical that makes the plant so dangerous, according to Cassandra Leah Quave, Ph.D., a medical ethnobotanist at Emory University in Atlanta. She and other experts said that ingesting any part of the plant can cause potentially deadly cardiac arrhythmias, The Times reported. “Don’t mess with this plant,” Quave warned.
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