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

Asara, Asarabácara, Asaret du Caucase, Asaret d'Europe, Asari Herba, Asari Herba cum Radice, Ásaro Europeo, Asaroun, Asarum, Asarum europeaum, Azarum, Cabaret, False Coltsfoot, Gingembre Rouge, Gingembre Sauvage, Hazelwort, Nard Sauvage, Oreille d'Homme, Public House Plant, Rondelle, Snakeroot, Wild Ginger, Wild Nard.


Asarum is a plant. The root is used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, asarabacca is used for bronchitis, bronchial spasms, and bronchial asthma. It is also used to treat coughs, pneumonia, chest pain (angina), migraines, liver disease, and dehydration. Some people use it to cause vomiting. Women use it to start their menstrual periods and cause an abortion.

Don't confuse Asarum with bitter milkwort or senega. All three are sometimes called snakeroot.

How does it work?

The chemicals in Asarum may have an effect on the lungs. Other chemicals in Asarum might cause vomiting.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Asarum 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

Asarum is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth short-term, as long as it isn't contaminated with a chemical called aristolochic acid.

Asarum that is not contaminated with aristolochic acid is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts or for longer durations. Large amount of Asarum, even if it is free from contamination, may cause nausea, vomiting, burning of the tongue, diarrhea, rash, and paralysis.

Asarum is UNSAFE when taken by mouth for any length of time if it's contaminated with the chemical aristolochic acid. This chemical can damage the kidney or cause cancer.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take Asarum if you are pregnant. It might start your period or cause the uterus to contract. These effects might cause a miscarriage. Avoid use.

Not enough is known about what effects Asarum might have on a nursing infant if taken while breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Stomach or intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) problems: Asarum can irritate the GI tract. Don't use it if you have ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, or Crohn's disease.


The appropriate dose of Asarum 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 asarabacca. 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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