For years, there has been a debate over whether one of the most popular flowers in weddings, baby’s breath, is safe to handle and consume. While some claim that the tiny white blooms can be toxic and cause health problems, others assert that these allegations are unfounded.
What is Baby’s Breath?
Baby’s breath, also known as Gypsophila, is a herbaceous perennial plant that is primarily grown for its delicate, white flowers. It’s native to Asia, Europe, and Africa but has become a staple in floral arrangements all over the world. These flowers not only make charming fillers for bouquets, but they can also be used to create wreaths and garlands as well as centerpieces for weddings and events.
Allegations of Poisonous Properties
Some people believe that baby’s breath is toxic due to its high saponin content, a steroid-like compound found in several plants that’s often responsible for their soapy texture. Saponins have been known to cause digestive problems and other unpleasant symptoms when ingested in large quantities. However, there’s no evidence to suggest that baby’s breath is any more poisonous than other plants containing saponins, such as spinach, quinoa or chocolate.
Debunking the Poisonous Claims
According to scientific studies, baby’s breath is not toxic, and it’s safe to handle and consume in moderate amounts. In fact, the most common variety, Gypsophila elegans, is used in the cosmetic industry for its anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. The species that contain high levels of saponin are not typically used in floral arrangements or sold for decorative purposes.
Safe Handling Practices
While baby’s breath is generally harmless, it’s important to handle it with care to avoid irritation or allergic reactions. If you have sensitive skin, use gloves when cutting or handling the flowers, and avoid rubbing your eyes or nose after touching them. Additionally, be cautious when using baby’s breath in food or beverages, as some people may have mild allergic reactions when consuming it in large amounts.
Despite the confusion surrounding baby’s breath’s potential toxicity, the scientific consensus is that it’s safe for use in floral arrangements and weddings, as long as appropriate handling practices are followed. So, if you’re planning to incorporate baby’s breath in your next event, there’s nothing to worry about as long as you’re dealing with the correct species of the plant.