Experts Urge Caution with Oleander Extract

It's a dangerous and unproven treatment for the coronavirus.
Doctor studying a vial during covid-19 coronavirus research.

Medical experts have expressed concern that consumers may use oleander as a treatment for COVID-19 after reports circulated that oleandrin, an extract from the toxic shrub, has been the subject of research.

Research into Oleandrin for Covid

After a laboratory study reportedly showed that oleandrin prevents replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, Harlan Krumholz, MD, told Medscape Medical News, that there is a “chasm between a single in vitro study and any use in humans outside of a protocol.”

Side Effects and Risks of Oleandrin

After tweeting, “Oleandrin? Yeah that would definitely kill people,” David Juurlink, MD, PhD, told MedPage Today, “Too much can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but the main concern is [cardiac] arrythmias, which can be fatal.”

Another physician, Jennifer Gunter, MD, suggested on Twitter that it would be easier to kill someone with oleandrin than with the virus.

Krumholz said that people should avoid any such remedies that are not part of “a credible research project.”

Click to See Our Sources

“Dangerous oleander extract not a COVID-19 cure” by Kristina Fiore,, 8/18/20

“Oleander extract for COVID-19? That’s a hard ‘no’ experts say by Megan Brooks,, 8/19/20


Nan Fornal

Nan Fornal has experience with fiction, nonfiction, and technical publications, working closely with book and magazine publishers from from first edit to final proofing. She has worked with Exeter Press, Boston magazine, and self-publishers alike.