Folk remedies can go terribly wrong.
A 70-year-old man in Shanghai was sent to hospital after eating three boiled toads believing it to be a folk remedy for his skin disease, Jiefang Daily said yesterday.
The man, surnamed Gao, had a skin disease for many years. He was told eating toads could help clear toxins in the body and was an effective treatment for skin diseases, the report said.
In July 2013, a woman also in Shanghai died after eating toad soup. She had cancer but the toad toxins killed her. It seems plausible that this happens more often and we don’t hear about it. Dogs are often victims of the bufotoxin when they eat the toads. There are several types of toxic substances found in different toads‘ skin and glands. So poisoning can occur even by just handling some toads.
Some toads are used as aphrodisiacs. Death can result.
Consumption of toads for their aphrodisiac effect is a common practice in Laos, China and in some parts of India. Toad secretions from parotid and skin contains toxin similar to cardiac glycosides. It results in bradycardia and cardiac dysfunction leading on to death in some cases. We report a case of toad poisoning in a young previously healthy male.