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Nerium AD: Nerium Oleander Side Effects (part 1)

Have you heard about Nerium AD? It is an anti-aging cream sold though the multi level marketing company Nerium International, LLC launched in August 2011.  

The cream contains it's namesake, extract from the nerium oleander plant. 

Botanicals are all the rage, so this is good, right? It's from a plant, good, right? 

Oh, did I forget to mention that nerium oleander is poisonous?

All parts of the plant are poisonous, the leaves, the seeds, the bark, the sap, the flowers and the extract. Even honey that is made by bees that use the oleander flowers for nectar is poisonous! 

Now that's one dangerous plant! 

All varieties are poisonous.  I've read, from any sources, that it is one of the most poisonous plants in the world.
oleander flowers
Here are the beautiful oleander flowers. Beautifully poisonous.

Nerium has been used for centuries as a folk remedy for to treat a variety of ailments. It is also a favorite suicide agent in Sri Lanka. It has been used as a rat poison and an insecticide. 

There is no established therapeutic dose of oleander. So how did this poisonous extract get into an anti-aging cream? It's a good question. Read about the history of the company and you will see the connection.

A of History on the Company that Makes Nerium AD

Nerium Biotechnology, Inc., an international research and development company, claims they accidentally discovered nerium oleander's amazing anti aging benefits for the skin from research that was done on the cancer drug  Anvirzel.  

Dr. Robert A. Newman, who is a scientific advisor  for Nerium Biotechnology, provided safety data from previous research and studies, experience from an FDA trial at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the analytical method and analysis for the determination of oleandrin in blood plasma.  

Dr. Huseyin Ziya Ozel, a Turkish physician, began studying and using oleander extract as an anti cancer drug in 1966. Oleander was mixed with water and used as an oral treatment. He was issued a patent the drug Anvirzel in the US and Europe in 1992.  

Nerium says, it's a "first of it's kind botanical drug containing cardiac glycosides for potent inhibition of the proliferation of cancer".  

Just so you know, cardiac glycosides are chemicals that slow the heart rate. They can slow the heart rate so much, that the heart stops beating. 

That is why oleander is so poisonous. 

Studies showed the drug had some effect on killing cancer cells, but this drug, Anvirzel, was never approved for use.  An interesting note, the American Cancer Society says that eighth century Arab physicians first used oleander as a cancer treatment. says " The effectiveness of oleander has not been proven. 

In test tube studies, oleandrin, one of the substances found in oleander extracts, caused apoptosis (a specific type of cell death) of prostate cancer cells. In other test tube studies, Anvirzel appeared to slow the growth of human bladder cancer cells, but human studies are needed to determine whether it will work in people. 

Very early studies of carefully dosed Anvirzel in people with cancer have not yet shown that it helps. Side effects included nausea and vomiting, aches, and redness at the injection site, but the drug did not appear to affect the cancer in these patients. 

One very early study of 18 patients with advanced cancer was done primarily to determine the best dose of the drug. No measurable responses were noted in patients’ cancer during this small study. Although there are claims that Anvirzel improves quality of life, reduces pain, increases energy, and causes cancer regression and remission, available scientific evidence does not support these claims." 

They also say,  "An injectable oleander extract with the brand name of Anvirzel was available at one time, but it has not been approved for marketing by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

In March 2000, the FDA warned Anvirzel’s manufacturers to stop promoting the product as safe and effective after it found misleading information on their website. The FDA noted that claims were being made based on preliminary and inconclusive data. A company cannot claim a drug is safe and effective unless it has been fully tested and shown to be so." 

Whoa! That is not good news for Nerium Biotechnology. 

All that money spent on research and development! There had to be some way to make back all that money that was spent! 

Oh wait! 

Nerium Biotechnology accidentally found out the nerium oleander has amazing anti aging benefits!  An anti aging cream. The world is searching for the fountain of youth. Market it right, and it could be a bestseller! 

What do you think is happening? People are buying NeriumAD at $110 a bottle, $80 if you sign up for auto shipping, oblivious to the fact that it contains a deadly toxin. Imagine that!

Nerium Oleander is Toxic

Now, the brand partners say nerium extract is not toxic. 

One brand partner was highly offended when I compared the toxicity nerium oleander extract to another well known toxin, Botox. She told me if I find any proof that oleander is toxic, I should show her the proof. 

Another brand partner did not know anything about oleander being toxic, so she decided she would ask Nerium International if it was indeed toxic.

She reported back to me, "They do not use the toxic part of the plant, which is the flower. They use the leaf which is not toxic."  Really? All parts of the plant are toxic.

The company is emphatic that the product is safe. 

Safety testing has shown that Nerium AD is safe

Obviously it is safe or people would be dropping dead. 

So why aren't people dropping dead? 

I suspect that there is very little nerium oleander in the product. The company's proprietary active ingredient blend is under lock and key. We will delve into why the product is safe even though it contains a poisonous extract another day.

(see Neruim Part 2: How does it work)

But know this, all types of oleander are poisonous. 

Let's review it again. 

Here is an excerpt from Ortho Books, Shrubs and Hedges,  

"All parts of the plant are violently poisonous. Be extremely cautious with clippings from pruning. Smoke from burning plant parts, green or dried can cause respiratory irritations. Contact with leaves can cause dermatitis, Ingesting even small amounts can cause severe illness, even death." 

Did you see that? ALL PARTS OF THE PLANT ARE VIOLENTLY POISONOUS no matter what the company and the brand partners tell you.

What I See as an Esthetician 

As an esthetician, I look at skin all day long. I also talk to people about the condition of their skin and the skin care products they use, therefore, I can tell you what I see and what I hear. 

I can see that the people who have used NeriumAD have a little improvement in their skin. Wrinkles are still there, but slightly less prominent, most likely, due to the hydration of the skin from the aloe in NeriumAd. 
That crinkly look you see in sun damaged skin is still there. Brown sun spots are still there. 

I have also seen rashes and irritations. 

Now, what I hear from the people who have used it is, NeriumAD doesn't make enough difference in their skin for the price. People say they see a difference at first, but the improvement doesn't last long. Plus, s
ome people have actually reported chest pains and nausea.

There are active anti aging skin care ingredients that do create some improvement in the skin. 

Here is a link to a nice list from Total Beauty: Top 12 Anti Aging Ingredients

I find the clients who have the youngest looking skin are those who use sunscreen religiously, use anti aging skin care products, get facial peels, moisturize regularly, use Retin A, and get Botox and/or Restylane or other filler injections. 

We are battling a break down of the elastic tissues in our skin and gravity. It takes a big effort to make aging skin look younger. 

Yonka  creates amazing anti aging creams that work together to stimulate elastin production in the skin. Yon-Ka is a French skin care line that creates fabulous botanical skin care products. 

I've worked with the Yonka skin care line for years. It's very safe and effective. I recommend it if you are looking for an anti aging product the works. It's a bit expensive, but it actively improves the skin with no toxic ingredients.

So to recap, here is a list of the side effects of the Nerium Oleander plant and it's extract.

The Side Effects of Nerium Oleander

Adverse Cardiac Effects
Dermatitis: Skin Rashes
Skin Irritation
Has curiosity gotten you in spite of the danger ? If you simply must try Nerium for yourself, try it for less with no automatic monthly shipping. Get it on Amazon. 
Shop for Nerium on Amazon

Here is more in my NeriumAD series:

NeruimADPart 2: How does it work?

NeriumAD Part 3: Ingredients

NeriumAD Part 4: An Aloe Products

Links for more info:

Poisonous Plants

Thanks for stopping by!
        Have a Beautiful Day! 
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist

PS: Thanks for using my amazon💋
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. That keeps my blog running and supports the care of animals in need!😸


  1. I wanted to pass on this safety information about NeriumAD with you. This is a letter from Dennis Knocke, CEO of Nerium Skincare
    “I just returned from our annual visit to the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology (NACCT) meeting in Las Vegas. As usual, we exhibited and shared product safety information and provided NeriumAD Age-Defying Treatment product samples to the attending MD, PhD, Phar.D., FDA, FBI Toxicologist/Pharmacologist and Poison Control Center Directors, etc.

    We were able to organize a NeriumAD Safety Panel Presentation/Discussion at the meeting. The panelists included five independent MD, Pediatric MD, PhD, Phar.D., and professors of Pharmacology and Toxicology, one a former Medical Officer for the Food and Drug Administration. Needless to say, it was a very distinguished panel with the ability and credibility to speak to safety; and recognizable individuals to the members of the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology. The presentation/discussion included the review of Dr. Newman’s research and ST&T clinical data, a review of the data base of the American Association of Poison Control Centers as it relates to Nerium oleander, comments about the confusion associated with the generic term “oleander,” comments about what is credible information on the Internet and myths about Nerium oleander, toxicity of NeriumAD as it relates to children, comparison to other safe products that contain toxic compounds, and the final consensus on the safety of NeriumAD. The conclusion of the panel was that NeriumAD was safe.
    He referenced a number of myths that circulate about Nerium oleander and have been referenced on the Internet. He referred to these examples as strictly myths. He shared his research on a rather large database that contains case studies of plant poisonings from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. He shared the unintentional and intentional data and put the data in perspective. In about 2.3 million plant exposures over the last 25 years, there have been only 43 deaths due to plant ingestion in the United States. None of them have involved Nerium oleander, and there are absolutely no fatalities associated. summary of the comments of another Pediatric MD at a prominent children’s hospital and Professor of Toxicology and Pharmacology are as follows. The amount of oleander in the entire container of NeriumAD is a non-toxic dose, even to children. He went on to estimate that a one-year-old child could ingest the entire contents of 400 bottles of NeriumAD and it would still remain a non-toxic dose of NeriumAD. In addition, he commented that in all his years of experience, young children do not ingest significant volumes of creams and ointments. He shared that in his 40 years of private practice and experience with his associated Poison Control Center, he is not aware of even one death of a child by ingestion of creams or ointments, as young children are just not wired to ingest large quantities of these types of substances. He proceeded to comment on the NeriumAD container design and shared that the container presented a daunting challenge for the extraction of significant volumes of cream by adults, let alone young children.
    “As a result of the studies, the study design, and data captured, NeriumAD has no evidence of toxicity and no absorption into the systemic circulation.” He concluded that the NeriumAD product is perfectly safe to use.

  2. It is no myth that nerium oleander is a toxin. Hundreds of botanical references list oleander as a toxin. Of course the product Nerium AD is safe. Why? I have come to the conclusion that it contains only a minute amount of nerium oleander extract. The company will not provide any information on a percentage of nerium contained in the product. The first ingredient is a blend of aloe and nerium. The second ingredient is aloe. Nerium AD is simply an expensive aloe cream with a gimmick.

    1. Its the first ingredient on the bottle so it is not a minute amount. First ingredient means more than any other ingredient after it. Also, even a minute amount, no matter how small, will harm you if it gets into your bloodstream. Will putting it on your skin get into your bloodstream? I dont know. Does a nicotine patch on your skin get into your bloodstream? yes. The fact is just because someone who's selling it says its safe doesn't mean it is. Products dont get banned until after it does harm. The short term effects seem to be great but he long term effects will be harmful. But by then, the company got your money and you pay the price with your health.

  3. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info specially the last part :) I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  4. When it comes to the safety of Nerium AD, take it from the experts:

  5. It is my opinion that Nerium AD is safe because it contains very little nerium oleander, as I mentioned before. Check the first 2 ingredients on the ingredient list. Looks like Nerium AD is basically an aloe cream. Nerium people, do any of you actually know how much nerium extract is in the proprietary blend?

  6. I have been using Nerium for about a month in a half. In that month in a half I have been to see my doctor, urgent care & the ER. Each visit has been for chest & nose pains. I had tests done and the doctors didn't find anything and concluded that it was stress related. I am a very laid back girl who has had the world given to me. I have NO reason to be stressed. After some research I have decided that these pains must be from Nerium as the time frame directly correlates with the time I have used this product. I just stopped using it so I will keep you updated but I am 95% sure I have figured out where my pains have been coming from.
    Also, after the first week I became really sick one night and couldn't stop vomiting. I ate the same things as my husband that day and had no idea why I got so sick...I am starting to believe it also had to do with the Nerium. Everyone's body reacts differently so not everyone will have these reactions. When Alieve first came out my grandmother broke out in hives and had to be rushed to the ER because her body rejected it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However I strongly urge you to do some research. I'd rather have bad skin then be in pain.

    1. Thank you for your post!!! I just started Nerium yesterday and already today I was having pretty severe heart chest pains which scared me!!! I'm going to stop this product immediately!!!

    2. Have ur chest pains stopped since stopping the product?!

  7. Also, after the first week I became really sick one night and couldn't stop vomiting. I ate the same things as my husband that day and had no idea why I got so sick...I am starting to believe it also had to do with the Nerium. Everyone's body reacts differently so not everyone will have these reactions. When Alieve first came out my grandmother broke out in hives and had to be rushed to the ER because her body rejected it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However I strongly urge you to do some research. I'd rather have bad skin then be in pain.

    1. I had a very bad reaction as well but it took me a few weeks to link it back to Nerium. I started experiencing heart flutters and arrythmias, which are terribly frightening. After 3 episodes I went to the doctor and they performed an EKG and an echosonogram but they didn't detect anything wrong with my heart. But I still continued to feel bad, as though my heart were beating slower. Then I went to an electrophysiologist & cardiologist. I wore a haltar monitor for 24 hours and still they couldn't detect what was wrong but I felt SO, SO bad. My heart was just beating different than my norm and I just couldn't figure out why. The doctors also wondered if I was very stressed but I didn't believe that was the root cause. Then after identifying the cream as the ONLY thing that had changed in my life during the onset of this change in my heart rythm, I decided to research the cream and could not believe what I discovered about cardiac glycosides. As soon as I discovered that I terminated usage and have been fine since then. I am back to feeling normal and am just thankful that I had the intuition to link it back to the cream (though it took me about 3 weeks to figure it out). And it was among the worst 3 weeks of my life because I thought I might die of a heart condition.
      To your point, everyone's physiology is different...underlying conditions, how we metabolize things, the strength of our skin barriers, etc.
      Buyer beware and please, please stay away from this if you are pregnant or nursing

    2. OMG!!!! I've used the day cream twice and today I thought I was having a heart attack oh my God and I am pregnant I am scared to death of this product!!!! I will stop it immediately and tell everyone I know!!!!!

  8. I also had a bad reaction to this product. The first night I only used 3 pumps and within 1 hour I had a severe headache, after 20 min and no relief I washed the serum off. I tried again several days later and only applied to my forehead and used a very small amount and no headache but by the third day my face broke out in hives and was bright red and I had severe stomache ache and was sick for two days. Stopped using and my face is finally returning to normal. I will keep my few wrinkles and continue to use sunscreen.

  9. I also had heart arrhythmia a and flutters each time I used Nerium products. I ended up in the hospital during a routine doctor visit due to my Dr. Listening to my heart and becoming concerned! Thousands of dollars later and lots of testing, I have stopped using and my heart flutters and off beats are slowly getting better. Night before last I wanted to try the firming body cream since my heart had been starting to feel better. Well that night I woke up with a racing heart and then beats started slowing down and skipping. It also would give me a headache within minutes of applying it too. My conclusion and my Doctors is that many people are slow metabolizes and cannot use some products. So very frustrating since I signed up and invested in the business.

  10. A friend of mine in the business introduced me to this product more than two years ago. I used it faithfully for approximately 18months when I began to notice a change in my heartbeat, but did not make the connection initially. I had been going through some stressful changes in my life and attributed the cause of the irregular heartbeat to that. As time progressed, it worsened, so I discontinued using it. Gradually, the palpitations began to go away. To be sure that it was the product causing the irregular heartbeat, I resumed using the product just to be sure. As a result, the palpitations increased, so I stopped. I repeated this pattern a few times to be sure, and the same thing would occur repeatedly. Most recently, I stopped using it altogether and I'm feeling much better. I'm a little disappointed, because I liked the product. I still have a full unopened bottle sitting on my shelf. I will no longer use this product because It is not worth sacrificing my health. I'm hopeful that it did not cause any long-term effects. Just be careful!

  11. I applied the day cream only twice!!! I experienced some very frightening and painful chest pains today!!!


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