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A tea made from dieffenbachia ("dumb plant") was given to Roman slaves before they were sent to the market to shop. The tea caused the slave's tongue and mouth to swell and paralyzed the throat. The slave was therefore unable to speak and gossip about household affairs. It is still used by some African tribes as a punishment for gossip. An overdose of the poison causes excessive swelling, obstruction of the respiratory passageways, and death by suffocation.