Tomatine is a toxic substance found in the leaves, fruits and stems of tomatoes. The alkali substance is mild in the ripe tomato fruit thus cannot cause toxicity in humans and pets in general. However, in dogs and other pets, tomatine can cause serious ailments that have a wide range of symptoms from nervous system ailments to digestive problems such as constant drooling.
Vomiting, seizures and frequent diarrhea could also be common. In humans, some individuals report side effects such as complications of the peripheral nervous system, dizziness and digestive difficulty. However, some people are not the least affected by it.
Identify the cause of tomatine disturbance in the body, either tomato fruits or mixing of tomato fruits with hot peppers or other similar foods. If the cause of disturbance is severe ingestion of unripe tomatoes, tomato leaves or stem, or both, visit the nearest clinic.
If it is a mild ingestion, home treatment can be administered by a competent individual. Such treatment should not involve hot peppers or potatoes as they too contain tomatine. Care should be taken to avoid handling the individual with garden gloves that have touched tomato and potato plants.
Identify whether the individual is allergic to tomatine. If allergic, administer their anti-flammatory drug. Upon administration of the drug, rush them to the nearest clinic for a full check-up. If they are not allergic but are experiencing difficulty, proceed to step 3.
Identify the type of tomato ingested. As tomatoes ripen, the tomatine is metabolized and its presence is lessened in the fruit. Thus, a ripe tomato fruit will not cause much digestive disturbance to the individual compared to an unripe fruit. If the individual ingested the stem or leaves of tomato plants, be sure to remember when proceeding to step 4.
Flash out the tomato from the body using a normal vomit inducer. Alternatively, one could eat simple acidic fruits such as lemon, oranges to create acidic conditions to neutralize tomatine. The aim of this step is to reduce the content or effect of tomatine in the body.
Let the individual rest for a while as the tomatine is neutralized. If the symptoms persist, seek medical advice from a registered professional. Remember to state the measures one has taken to help the individual before the medical practitioner takes over the patient.
Tips and Comments
Tomatoes though harmful to pets and humans in large quantities due to tomatine, can be of significant help to the human body. They contain substances that help prevent cancer, heart disease and cataracts. They also contain vitamins C, vitamin A, vitamin K, fibers and potassium. Like all other fruits, they also provide a good boost to the immune system, especially to children.
Tomatine is also been found to inhibit the growth of deadly cancer cells in the body. It is thus suggested from research that consumers may not only benefit by eating red tomatoes but also high green tomatoes.
Talking to a nutritionist on the effects, treatment and importance of tomatine can help an individual manage their eating habits better to sustain healthy growth.
Sources and Citations