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Rhododendron is toxic. So are Azaleas, a subspecies of Rhododendron. A few varieties are used medicinally. In the West, certain varieties are used externally to treat joint pain and leg neuralgia. In Oriental medicine certain species are used as a medicine for treating coughs, asthma, heart problems, and inflammation. The variety R. arboreum, from Nepal is used to make a juice called buransh or burans, that is a popular beverage and ingredient in several popular dishes. It is known for its nutritional properties and sour flavor.