Nerium oleander is a shrub or small tree in the dogbane family Apocynaceae, toxic in all its parts. Gaining popularity as an ornamental plant because of its flowers and drought tolerance, it is often used in landscapes in hot, dry climates. It also has some use for hedges. Its common names include oleander, "rosebay", and "poison de capello" (Capello is Portuguese for rooster). Oleander grows to a mature height of 2–10 m. Nerium oleander is native to the dry and warm subtropical areas of Eurasia from Portugal to China and south through the Arabian peninsula to South Africa.
Its carpets of fragrant pink and white flowers, borne profusely in summer, make it a popular garden shrub. The oleander is hardy down to about −23 °C (USDA zone 7), though the flowering season may be affected at temperatures below this. It can grow in USDA zone 10.
In the north of Portugal, the oleander is as a rule cut to the ground during winter as a precaution against frost damage, but new growth comes from the roots and so it survives without protection even at −15 °C. It can also be grown for its flowers in colder climates such as northern Europe and areas of North America. It can be grown as a shrub or a tree.
The oleander is highly toxic to humans and animals, including cats and dogs. Ingestion of any part of the plant may result in fatal poisoning from cardiac glycosides contained in them. Handling the plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. The active components are cardenolides, including oleandrin and the unsaturated digitalis-like compounds.
This is largely due to the presence of oleandrin and other poisonous compounds, such as nervine, which can cause symptoms typical of digitalis poisoning: nausea and vomiting, dizziness, weakness and fainting, diarrhea, dilated pupils (mydriasis), slow pulse rate (bradycardia), heart block, and even death from cardiogenic shock.
Although oleander is poisonous for humans, it has been used as a folk medicine in some cultures. The Ancient Greek physician Dioscorides recommended a preparation of the flowers to expel worms and stings on scorpion bites. It was also mentioned by Avicenna in his book The Canon of Medicine.
Not all parts of the plant are poisonous, but ingestion of non-toxic parts can still cause sickness. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, and fainting. Chewing or crushing oleander leaves releases more poison. If ingested they may cause seizures, kidney failure, or cardiac arrest. Skin contact with oleander leaves and flowers may cause irritation or an allergic reaction.
Global turmeric production
The top three countries producing turmeric in the world are India, China, and Taiwan. Combined, they produce over 80% of the world’s turmeric. India is by far the largest producer, responsible for more than 60% of global output.
Turmeric is a key ingredient in many Indian dishes and is also used in Ayurvedic medicine. The spice is thought to have a range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and pain, boosting cognitive function, and aiding digestion.
Despite its popularity, turmeric is a relatively delicate crop that is susceptible to pests and disease. As a result, global production can vary significantly from year to year. For example, bad weather in India led to a sharp decline in output in 2016, while production bounced back the following year.
Looking ahead, the global demand for turmeric is expected to continue growing. This is due in part to the spice’s purported health benefits, as well as its increasing popularity in Western cuisine. As a result, turmeric is likely to remain an important crop for many countries around the world.