The tomato plant is part of the Solanaceae or nightshade family, which is known for its poisonous qualities. Nightshades contain alkaloids, which are chemical compounds that are toxic to many organisms. While the ripe fruit of the tomato plant is perfectly healthy, different parts of all tomato plants are toxic to both humans and animals.
The vine of the tomato has small, fine hairs throughout the length of it. These hairs turn into roots when it comes into contact with the soil, helping the plant propagate. It is not very strong and often uses other plants for support. All the tomato vines are green, and the plant can grow up to 6 feet tall if properly supported. Tomato vines contain alkaloids, which give the plants a bitter taste, and they are poisonous. Always keep children and animals away from tomato plants. Ensure that the entire vine is removed from the tomato, especially before eating it raw. Always use gloves when handling the vine as it can create a rash on people with sensitive skins. Also avoid eating the roots since it also contains the same alkaloids as the vine.
The leaves of the tomato plant contain alkaloids, and these alkaloids can disrupt the cholinergic nerves, which are nerves that releases choline. Choline contains quaternary ammonium salts, which are found in animal tissues. Aside from interfering with the operation of these nerves, these alkaloids can also give you gastrointestinal problems if digested. The leaves of the tomato range from arrowhead shaped to multiloped, and these leaves are always green, ranging from very light to bright green. If you have pets or children, always pick up fallen leaves if you keep your tomato as an indoor plant. Alternatively, fence off the area where the plants are grown.
While green tomatoes are a delicacy in different cultures, this unripe fruit contains large amounts of saponins and alkaloids. Eating these in large amounts can upset your stomach and make you sick. If you do decide to eat green tomatoes, completely cook them to help remove as much of the alkaloids as possible, or let them completely dry. Or, you can wait until the fruit is completely red in color. Also, don't eat that many of them. While these fruits can make you sick in large amounts, it will not hurt you if you only eat a few, completely cooked fruit. Ripe fruit has a small amount of alkaloids, but not enough to adversely affect you, your family or your pets. Always keep green tomatoes away from your pets since this fruit is toxic to them. According to Cats Lovers Only, it does, however, take a large amount of unripe tomatoes for the fruit to be lethal to pets.