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Can Duck Flower Kill You? Health Benefits and Side Effects

Did you know Duck Flower juice is commonly used as a detox, but using excess Duck Flower can kill you?

Duck Flower contains aristolochic acid, a natural toxin that is nephrotoxic, carcinogenic, and mutagenic, and in excess, may cause renal failure, urothelial cancer, and invite slow death.

However, it does not undermine its many medicinal benefits.

Continue reading to learn more about Duck Flowers and whether consuming them is worth it.

What Does Duck Flower Look Like?

Duck Flower (Aristolochia grandiflora) has a long history of usage as South American folk medicine for treating fevers, ailments, and digestive issues.

In Fact, the large flowering plant originates in many parts of Central and South America and is known for its health benefits.

In fact, you could quickly spot them growing in many gardens or pots throughout USDA zones 5-10+ because of their noticeable features.

Duck Flowers
The Duck Flower is a vine that reaches over 10 meters and boasts showy tubular flowers measuring up to 12 inches in length.

Before going further, look at this short table describing noticeable features of Duck Flowers.

Common namesDuck flower and Giant Dutchman's Pipe
Plant Type/heightVining / 6-10 meters (20-32 feet)
Flower Size30 cm (12 inches)
Flower ColorVaries, typically shades of green, purple
Flower AppearanceLarge, tubular, trumpte-shaped, resembles the shape of a pipe or a duck's beak
Bloom SeasonSpring to early summer
Bloom durationIndividual flowers last for a few days
SeedingYes, once the flower matures
FoliageHeart-shaped green-colored leaves

These showy flowers make a great addition to your garden and attract pollinators and trap them inside, mainly Jamaican Duck Flowers, which are abundant.

So, care to harvest these flowers in summer for medicinal purposes or let them wilt to obtain Duck Flower seeds.

What are the Duck Flower Uses and Benefits?

Duck Flowers are highly regarded medicinal plants in many parts of South America, especially in Asia, as an Ayurvedic medicine.

The phytochemicals, alkaloids, and phenols found in Duck Flowers pose potent herbs in detoxifying the body.

However, remember that the cleansing may last 3 to 8 hours with severe side effects, including mood swings, nausea, diarrhea, hot flashes, etc.

Nonetheless, here are a few benefits and uses of Duck Flowers.

  • The phytochemicals help your body release toxins, excrete excess mucus buildup, and cleanse your digestive system.
  • Next, the dehydrated Duck Flowers can be infused with tea to make Duck Flower tea for occasional consumption.
  • The flower has traces of protoberberine, which helps promote weight loss by cutting off fats.
  • Drinking Duck Flower tea is linked to improving memory and sleep deprivation.
  • As it cleanses the digestive system, it also helps to rid of parasites and waste, which may invite diseases in the long run.
  • Also, it makes a perfect ornamental plant and can be cultivated for its aesthetic value in gardens.
  • Finally, the intricate flower structure is adapted to attract specific pollinators, like certain fly species, which helps bring an ecological balance by supporting pollinator populations.

How to Safely Consume Duck Flowers?

Consuming Duck Flowers in excess may prove fatal; therefore, you should use caution when consuming them.

Here are a few tips.

  • Get a packet of certified dehydrated Duck Flowers.
  • Rehydrate it by soaking it in fresh (dechlorinated) water for 1 hour.
  • Remove the flower from the water and blend it with other fruits to prepare juice, or drink it with water.
  • Prepare to battle the severe cleansing process, vomiting, or diarrhea, which may last a day.

Can Duck Flower Kill You and Your Pet?

Despite its many benefits and uses, Duck Flowers remain infamous for their severe adverse effects.

It is crucial to emphasize that “Duck Flower tea” and “Duck Flower detox” are not recommendeble in legitimate herbal or medical practices.

In fact, consuming Duck flowers can be highly hazardous to health due to toxic aristolochic acids, including kidney failure, nephritis, interstitial fibrosis, urological diseases, and cancer.

Did you know the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exposed the dangers of Aristolochia species and requested removing products from public use?

Hence, be wary about consuming Duck Flowers occasionally. Moreover, keep them away from children and pets.

Pets, particularly cats, are prone to Aristolochia poisoning, similar to Foxglove poisoning.

It may invite signs of vomiting, hypersalivation, and depression within 2 hours of eating.

Contact the pet poisoning helpline at (855) 764-7661 or ASPCA animal poison control at (888) 426-4435.

From Editorial Team


It is essential to keep Duck Flowers away from pregnant women or women trying to conceive.

Also, Duck Flowers contain potent chemicals that may act as abortifacient properties and alter pregnancy.

Overall, you should consult a physician before consuming them, as Duck Flower can kill you.