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Doctors warn against eating your Christmas tree

Dr. Karla Robinson said certain Christmas trees are edible; however, consuming the one in your home is probably not your best bet for a number of reasons.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friday is National Take Down Your Christmas Tree Day.

It falls on Jan. 6 every year because, according to Christian tradition; today marks the day the three kings arrived in Bethlehem after Jesus Christ was born, which signifies the end of the 12 days of Christmas.

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While most people who got a real tree will just throw it out, one article making the rounds on social media suggests people should eat their Christmas tree.


Dr. Karla Robinson tells WCNC Charlotte certain Christmas trees are edible; however, consuming the one in your home is probably not your best bet for a number of reasons. 

"You don't know in many cases where your tree came from you don't know if it was treated with any pesticides or chemicals that could potentially harm you if ingested," Dr. Robinson said. 

The article claims you can make teas or seasoning from your tree, but both doctors say steer clear unless you know you have a non-poisonous pine and it hasn't been treated with chemicals. 

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"Some trees that we know are harmful are trees like cypress trees, cedar trees, so if those are the types of trees you use, you don't want to eat those," Dr. Robinson said. 

Even if it's not poisonous, Dr. Kohli tells WCNC Charlotte the needles can still be irritants in your system. 

"The needles are very sharp, so if you think about putting something in your mouth, even swallowing it, and it gets in your esophagus and your stomach, it can cause mucous membrane damage," Dr. Kohli said. 

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the best way to recycle your tree, bring it to a drop-off recycling center or tree recycling and mulching program or just use your curbside recycling pick-up. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit VERIFY.

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