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The Making of Medicine

You Can Download a Free Book on Poisonous Plants in Virginia

I am terribly, woefully allergic to poison ivy, one of the plants described in a newly revised ebook from our Blue Ridge Poison Center and its collaborators. If you'd like to know how to recognize and avoid poison ivy and other hazardous flora around the state, you can download the book, for free, here.

Titled "The Socrates Project – Poisonous Plants in Virginia," the book is filled with full-color photos and useful information. Even if you're not in Virginia, it's an interesting read. For example, you might be interested to learn about pokeweed, a plant that is highly toxic but is, nonetheless, eaten by some brave souls in the South after being boiled repeatedly. "Poke salad," they call the resulting dish. I've never had it, and I can't say I'm planning to. Especially after reading about how pokeweed can cause convulsions and death.

The book is a joint effort of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program – a volunteer organization that provides education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within its communities – the Blue Ridge Poison Center, and the UVA School of Medicine’s Division of Medical Toxicology – Department of Emergency Medicine. Thanks to them for this public service. Now I can identify some of the berries I thought looked so appealing as a kid. Good thing I resisted the temptation.

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