Will plant growth hormones (PGHs), (let us consider auxins for example) poison our body or not? I do realise that when you eat a shoot, auxins get digested and are less likely to be poisonous but when taken as an intravenous injection can auxins cause some changes to the body? I mean even if they do not poison a body, some osmotic changes are bound to happen. According to this link, if the water was injected in not so little amounts it is bound to cause cells to burst.

EDIT: Now according to this link, plant hormones are actually beneficial to human body.

How is it possible if they don't have any receptors in humans or any other vertebrates?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ There are no receptors for auxins or any other plant hormone in humans or other vertebrates. Of course they are not poisonous otherwise people would die of eating shoots. Please show some research effort from your side. A one line question without any research effort or suitable background is not appreciated. $\endgroup$
    Mar 16, 2016 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ You can improve this question; why delete it? This can be a good question. Just explain it a bit. Specify the plant hormone etc. Interestingly a study says that auxins can have anticancerous effects. $\endgroup$
    Mar 16, 2016 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ As a lead to satisfy the bullying mod @WYSIWYG (wink) - every compound gets toxic at certain levels. What dose are you talking about? How do you know what level is toxic and which may have a more physiological effect, if any? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Mar 16, 2016 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Christiaan I have edited the question a bit. $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2016 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG Yes, I noticed one such study and included it in the question. If they don't have any receptors how to they bring about such effects? $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2016 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


I will only give an outline based only on auxins otherwise the question may be deemed too long.I hope this helps a bit.

The first auxin was isolated from the urine of pellagra patients.

Most natural auxins are indole derivatives which are the intermediates or final products of tryptophan metabolism.Both vitamin B3 and auxins are consequences of tryptophan metabolism. [source]


Thus, auxin injected may be eliminated through urine.

We already understand that substances that are excreted via urine are either toxic to the body or above threshold.Perhaps this idea was harnessed by researchers to construct researches which proved that auxins have anti-cancer properties.

given that the chemical structure of plant and human auxin is identical and that cytokinin IPA is found in human cells bound to tRNA assisting protein expression, presumably supplied by the consumption of vegetables in the diet, and that we observe a positive effect of plant hormones on pluripotency and key anticancer gene expression levels in mammalian cells [1],[2]


In proper dosage may be utilised for its anticancer properties.

Cytochrome and a series of enzyme system in liver cells are known to detoxify indole

Protein putrefaction in the large intestine results in formation of indole.This indole is carried by the portal system to the liver where it is detoxified to indican with the help of the cytochrome P450 isoenzyme system and consequently eliminated via urine.


Thus auxins (being indole derivatives and moderately hydrophilic) may be detoxified in the liver and then excreted. REFERENCE:[1],[2],[3]


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