Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Christmas Flower, Easter Flower, Étoile de Noël, Euphorbia poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, Fleur Pentecôte, Flor de Pascua, Lobster Flower Plant, Lobsterplant, Mexican Flame Leaf, Noche Buena, Paintedleaf, Papagallo, Pastora, Poinsettia pulcherrima.


Poinsettia is a flowering plant. The whole plant and its sap (latex) are used to make medicine.

Despite safety concerns, people take poinsettia to treat fever, stimulate breast milk production, and cause an abortion. They also take the latex to kill pain, kill bacteria, and cause vomiting.

Some people apply poinsettia latex directly to the skin (use topically) to remove hair, treat warts, and heal other skin disorders. It also used topically for toothaches.

How does it work?

There isn't enough information to know how poinsettia works.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Fever.
  • Pain.
  • Infection.
  • Warts, when applied directly.
  • Skin disorders, when applied directly.
  • Toothache, when applied directly.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of poinsettia for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Poinsettia might be UNSAFE. It can cause skin rash; severe eye irritation; and irritation or burns to the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestinal linings.

Recent studies indicate that the plant is less toxic than once believed. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 22,793 cases of potential poisoning with no fatalities and 92.4% with no toxicity.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Children: Poinsettia might be UNSAFE in children when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. Poinsettia might have caused the poisoning death of a 2-year-old child.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It might be UNSAFE to use poinsettia if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Don't use it.

Digestive tract disorders such as stomach ulcer, irritable bowel disease, and Crohn's disease: Poinsettia might irritate the digestive tract. Don't use it if you any of these conditions.


The appropriate dose of poinsettia depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for poinsettia. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Krenzelok EP, Jacobsen TD, Aronis JM. Poinsettia exposures have good outcomes...just as we thought. Am J Emerg Med 1996;14:671-4. View abstract.