What other names is Chlorophyll known by?

Chlorophyll a, Chlorophyll b, Chlorophyll c, Chlorophyll d, Chlorophylle, Chlorophylle a, Chlorophylle b, Chlorophylle c, Chlorophylle d, Clorofila.

What is Chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in plants. Plants use chlorophyll and light to make food. People use chlorophyll as medicine. Common sources of chlorophyll used for medicine include alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and silkworm droppings.

Chlorophyll is used for bad breath and reducing colostomy odor. A colostomy is a surgical opening made in the abdomen that allows intestinal waste to be collected in a bag. Chlorophyll is also used for constipation, "detoxification," and wound healing.

Healthcare providers use chlorophyll intravenously for treating a pancreas problem called chronic relapsing pancreatitis.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Swelling of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Injecting chlorophyll intravenously (by IV) seems to help reduce pain and other symptoms in people with chronic relapsing pancreatitis.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Reducing colostomy odor. Taking chlorophyll by mouth does not seem to reduce colostomy odor.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Sores caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). Early research shows that applying chlorophyll to the skin as a cream or solution improves healing and reduces the number of sores caused by herpes simplex virus infections.
  • Shingles (herpes zoster). Early research shows that applying chlorophyll to the skin as a cream or solution reduces sores and improves recovery in people with shingles.
  • Lung cancer. Early research suggests that injecting chlorophyll intravenously (by IV) along with the drug talaporfin, followed by treatment with laser therapy, might reduce cancer lesions in people with early-stage lung cancer. However, this effect appears to only last for 2 weeks.
  • Skin cancer. Early research suggests that injecting chlorophyll intravenously (by IV) or applying it to the skin in combination with laser or light therapy reduces the recurrence of cancer in people with a common type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma.
  • Bad breath.
  • Constipation.
  • Wound healing.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of chlorophyll for these uses.

Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

How does Chlorophyll work?

There isn't enough information available to know how chlorophyll might work.

Are there safety concerns?

Chlorophyll is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when injected intravenously (by IV) under the supervision of a trained medical professional or when applied to the skin.

Chlorophyll can cause skin to become extra-sensitive to the sun. Wear sunblock outside, especially if you are light-skinned.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking chlorophyll if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Are there any interactions with medications?

Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Chlorophyll might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Taking chlorophyll along with medication that increases sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering, or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.

Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).

Dosing considerations for Chlorophyll.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

  • Healthcare providers give chlorophyll intravenously (by IV) for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

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).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011