American Hellebore

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

American Veratrum, American White Hellebore, Bugbane, Devil's Bite, Earth Gall, Eléboro Americano, Eléboro Verde, False Hellebore, Faux Hellébore, Green Hellebore, Green Veratrum, Indian Poke, Itchweed, Tabac du Diable, Tickleweed, Varaire Vert, Vératre Vert, Veratro Verde, Veratrum eschscholtzii, Veratrum viride.


American hellebore is a plant. The bulb and root are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, American hellebore has been used for epilepsy, spasms, high blood pressure, fever, fluid retention, and nervousness.

In manufacturing, American hellebore has been used as an insecticide.

Don't confuse American hellebore with European hellebore and pheasant's eye (false hellebore).

How does it work?

American hellebore contains chemicals that can help reduce blood pressure, slow the heartbeat, and have a calming effect (act as a sedative).


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of American hellebore for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

American hellebore is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. There are many possible side effects including irritation of the mouth and throat lining and slowing of the heartbeat.

Large doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, trouble swallowing, nerve problems, blindness, convulsions, paralysis, trouble breathing, and death.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

It is LIKELY UNSAFE for anyone to use American hellebore, but some people have extra reasons not to use it:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to take American hellebore by mouth or apply it to the skin when pregnant or breast-feeding.

Heart disease: There is some concern that American hellebore could make heart disease worse by slowing the heart rate.

Irritation of the digestive tract: American hellebore can irritate the digestive tract and should not be used by people with a medical condition affecting the stomach or intestines.


The appropriate dose of American hellebore depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for American hellebore. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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