Neuromuscular blockade after ingestion of tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca)

Ann Emerg Med. 1999 Jul;34(1):101-4. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(99)70280-5.


Two patients presented with life-threatening motor paresis after ingestion of leaves from the tree tobacco plant (Nicotiana glauca ). In addition to severe muscle weakness, bulbar palsies, flexor muscle spasm, hypertension, nausea, vomiting, and respiratory compromise were reported or observed. These are the fourth and fifth reported cases of a toxicologic emergency apparently caused by the alkaloid, anabasine, an isomer of nicotine found in the tobacco tree plant. The effects of this plant ingestion can mimic other better-known causes of paresis or paralysis. In areas of the country where the plant is indigenous, this toxicologic condition should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with paresis or paralysis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anabasine / poisoning*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electrocardiography
  • Emergency Treatment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Nicotiana / poisoning*
  • Paresis / chemically induced*
  • Paresis / diagnosis
  • Paresis / therapy
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Trees*


  • Anabasine