Veratrum viride (generic name)

treats Cardiovascular and renal dysfunction, Pre-eclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension, and Hypertension
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Safety

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to plants in the lily family (Liliaceae) or a known allergy to American hellebore or any related species of Veratrum.

Side Effects and Warnings

It appears that American hellebore is not well tolerated in humans. Even at recommended doses, American hellebore may cause toxicity that may result in death. The isolated chemical constituents (steroidal alkaloids) have been reported to cause arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), bradycardia (slowed heart rate), hypotension (low blood pressure), headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset and altered renal (kidney) function. Patients with cardiovascular disorders should use caution when taking American hellebore.

Homeopathic American hellebore may be safe for use, but currently there is a lack of available information regarding side effects.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

American hellebore should be avoided in pregnant and breastfeeding women since it may be toxic even at therapeutic doses.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

The use of American hellebore or its alkaloidal constituents could cause bradycardia (slowed heart rate) and combination with anti-arrhythmic drugs may be unsafe. Caution is advised.

American hellebore or its alkaloidal constituents may lower blood pressure. Patients taking medications that lower blood pressure (antihypertensives) should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.

American hellebore or its alkaloidal constituents may cause a decrease in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and effective renal blood flow. Thus, American hellebore may interact with certain medications that increase urine flow (diuretics) such as chlorothiazide (Diuril®). Preparations of American hellebore may also interact with drugs that are excreted through the kidneys or that are potentially toxic to the kidneys.

Isolated constituents found in American hellebore may have beta-agonist and/or beta-adrenergic blocking activity. Caution is advised in patients with cardiovascular disease or those taking beta-agonist or beta-blocker drugs.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

The use of American hellebore or its alkaloidal constituents could cause bradycardia (slowed heart rate) and combination with anti-arrhythmic herbs and supplements may be unsafe. Caution is advised.

American hellebore or its alkaloidal constituents may lower blood pressure. Patients taking herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure (antihypertensives) should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.

American hellebore or its alkaloidal constituents may cause a decrease in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and effective renal blood flow. Thus, American hellebore may interact with certain herbs and supplements that increase urine flow (diuretics). Preparations may also interact with herbs and supplements that are excreted through the kidneys or that are potentially toxic to the kidneys.

Attribution

This information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Ernest B. Hawkins, MS, BSPharm (Health Education Resources, Inc.); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).

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