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Thread: Groundsel and Coltsfoot causing liver damage

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    Cavy Slave MyraMidnight's Avatar
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    Exclamation Groundsel and Coltsfoot causing liver damage

    Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
    Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)

    I've just been wondering since I see these plants on so many lists of safe plants, and then I saw them also on lists for dangerous plants in other places. Apparently they produce Pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic: "Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are produced by plants as a defense mechanism against insect herbivores". They cause liver damage, groundsel is even reported to cause the death of many livestock.

    "Common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) and other Senecio species, such as tansy ragwort, are potentially toxic to livestock. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are their toxic agents. All parts of groundsels are considered poisonous; and toxicity persists in dried plants found in hay. Young plants are more likely to be eaten and young animals are more likely to be affected."

    Shouldn't they be on the dangerious plants lists for guinea pigs?
    I've been looking into it mainly because of my translation project (translating guinea pig information to Icelandic).

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Groundsel and Coltsfoot causing liver damage

    The list is not inclusive of all poisonous plants or dangerous plants. There are a lot of plants and even edible herbs that shouldn't be fed to guinea pigs. Some of those edible herbs aren't safe for humans with different types of medical conditions. I'd research any plant that you consider feeding a guinea pig before offering it to them.

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    Cavy Slave MyraMidnight's Avatar
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    Re: Groundsel and Coltsfoot causing liver damage

    my point was that Groundsel and coltsfoot seem to be on many safe to eat for guinea pigs lists, and this is me researching if they are actually safe or not.
    Coltsfoot seems to be less dangerous (their flowers are studied to cause liver damage in rats), but groundsel is reported to cause such serious liver damage that it is known to kill livestock.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Groundsel and Coltsfoot causing liver damage

    Quote Originally Posted by MyraMidnight View Post
    my point was that Groundsel and coltsfoot seem to be on many safe to eat for guinea pigs lists, and this is me researching if they are actually safe or not.
    Coltsfoot seems to be less dangerous (their flowers are studied to cause liver damage in rats), but groundsel is reported to cause such serious liver damage that it is known to kill livestock.
    I've read that with other plants, as well. Some varieties of vinca vine are listed as safe on some sites but not on others. That's why I recommended that people research before assuming they're okay. If you feed what's on the list on this site, you're safe.

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    Re: Groundsel and Coltsfoot causing liver damage

    You have to also look at the specifics of the study. For example, FDA pronounced comfrey as not suitable for internal consumption, because it supposedly causes liver damage, but their study was not even studying comfrey itself. It was studying concentrated chemical found in comfrey, and they fed that to rats, and based on that said comfrey was poisonous. In order to get the same effect with comfrey, person would have to eat 10 pounds of comfrey a day, and even then, assuming anyone could eat that much, effects wouldn't be the same as it has other parts, that might work together very differently.

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