4 January 2017

The Yew Tree

The Yew Tree - all parts toxic apart from the berry, which is delicious. The seed within the berry is highly toxic though and must be carefully removed.

The foliage is actually more toxic than the seeds, and increases in toxicity when dried.

Yew seeds or needles used to be dried and ground into powder which was used as a fatal poison in medieval days. Predating that Celtic warriors, and warrior tribes around the world, would sometimes carry yew poison to self-ingest if they were captured by an enemy and through torture there was a risk of betraying their tribe.

Yew poisoning symptoms include increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, collapse and cardiac arrest.

Even yew pollen can cause headaches, lethargy, aching joints, skin rashes; and is a trigger for asthma.

Having said that yew is an beautiful and majestic tree, often reaching 400 - 600 years of age, with huge druidic, historic and religious importance. I have a large yew growing beside our wood shed and am delighted to have it there.

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