Veratrum viride (generic name)
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CategoryHerbs & Supplements
American false hellebore, American white hellebore, cevadine, corn lily, cryptenamine, cyclopamine, false hellebore, germidine, germitrine, green corn lily, green false hellebore, green hellebore, green veratrum, hellebore, Indian poke, itch weed, jervine, jervine alkaloids, Liliaceae (family), Melanthiaceae (subfamily), muldamine, O-acetyljervine, protoveratrine, poison lily, proveratrine, swamp hellebore, verat-v., veratramine, veratridine, Veratrum viride, Veratrone®, veriloid, Vergitryl®, Vertavis®, white American hellebore.
Note: Much of the toxicological data in this monograph is based on the European white hellebore (Veratrum album), as both American hellebore and European white hellebore contain jervine alkaloids, the constituents responsible for the plants' toxic cardiovascular effects.
American hellebore is a perennial plant native to the swampy areas and moist meadows of the eastern and western United States. The root and rhizome of American hellebore has been used historically for fever, pain, and high blood pressure, with a decoction (boiled in water) of the root being used for chronic coughs and constipation. Historically, the whole plant was not routinely used medicinally, only the root and rhizome. Although American hellebore was formerly used as a tea or tincture, potentially toxic and irritating constituents preclude its modern day use by ingestion.
The toxic effects associated with American hellebore limit its ability to be used as an agent to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), related kidney/heart diseases, and hypertension associated with pre-eclampsia in pregnancy.
Currently, there is a lack of scientific information regarding the safety or effectiveness of American hellebore as a whole plant, or homeopathically. Most studies have investigated the isolated jervine alkaloids.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Cardiovascular and renal dysfunction:
Isolated jervine alkaloids found in American hellebore have been studied for cardiovascular and renal (kidney) dysfunction. Additional study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.
Hypertension (high blood pressure):
Isolated jervine alkaloids found in American hellebore have been used to treat hypertension, however other herbs and prescription drugs that can treat this condition have fewer toxic side effects. Additional study is needed in this area.
Isolated jervine alkaloids found in American hellebore may be beneficial for pre-eclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension, but other herbs and prescription drugs that can treat this condition have fewer toxic side effects. Additional study is needed in this area.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antioxidant, arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms), bruises, cardiac conditions, cerebrovascular accident (stroke), diaphoretic (promotes sweating), emetic (induces vomiting), expectorant, fever reducer, fractures, heart rate reduction (homeopathic), lice, mental illness, pain, pesticide, skin care (topical rubefacient), snake bite, sprains.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is currently a lack of available scientific information about safe or effective dosing of American hellebore in adults. Most preparations used in studies contain isolated jervine alkaloids from American hellebore (Vertavis®, Veratrone®), and no doses of whole American hellebore have been noted.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is currently a lack of available scientific information about safe or effective dosing of American hellebore in children.