Last Editorial Review: 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Cineraria, Common Groundsel, Flor Amarilla, Ground Glutton, Grundy Swallow, Hierba Cana, Petit Séneçon, Senecio Común, Senecio vulgaris, Séneçon Commun, Séneçon Vulgaire, Simson, Yuyito.


Groundsel is a plant. The whole flowering plant is used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, people take groundsel for worms and colic. They take the pressed juice for irregular or painful menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea) and epilepsy.

The pressed juice is sometimes applied directly to gums to stop bleeding.

How does it work?

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


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Colic.
  • Worms.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Irregular or painful menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea).
  • Stopping dental bleeding, when applied directly to the affected area.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of groundsel 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

Groundsel is UNSAFE for anyone to use. There's a lot of concern about using groundsel as medicine, because it contains chemicals called hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which may block blood flow in the veins, causing liver damage. Hepatotoxic PAs might also cause cancer and birth defects. Groundsel preparations that are not certified and labeled “hepatotoxic PA-free” are considered UNSAFE.

It's also UNSAFE to apply groundsel to broken skin. The dangerous chemicals in groundsel can be absorbed quickly through broken skin and can lead to dangerous body-wide toxicity. Steer clear of skin products that aren't certified and labeled “hepatotoxic PA-free.” There isn't enough information to know if it's safe to apply groundsel to unbroken skin. It's best to avoid use.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to use groundsel preparations that might contain hepatotoxic PAs during pregnancy. These products might cause birth defects and liver damage.

It's also UNSAFE to use groundsel preparations that might contain hepatotoxic PAs if you are breast-feeding. These chemicals can pass into breast-milk and might harm the nursing infant.

It's not known whether products that are certified hepatotoxic PA-free are safe to use during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using any groundsel preparation if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Groundsel may cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking groundsel.

Liver disease: There is concern that the hepatotoxic PAs in groundsel might make liver disease worse.


Medications that increase break down of other medications by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 [CYP3A4] inducers)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Groundsel is broken down by the liver. Some chemicals that form when the liver breaks down groundsel can be harmful. Medications that cause the liver to break down groundsel might enhance the toxic effects of chemicals contained in groundsel.

Some of these medicines include carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin, rifabutin (Mycobutin), and others.


The appropriate dose of groundsel 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 groundsel. 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.

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


Chojkier M. Hepatic sinusoidal-obstruction syndrome: toxicity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. J Hepatol 2003;39:437-46. View abstract.

Food and Drug Administration. FDA Advises Dietary Supplement Manufacturers to Remove Comfrey Products From the Market. July 6, 2001. Available at:

Fox DW, Hart MC, Bergeson PS, et al. Pyrrolizidine (Senecio) intoxication mimicking Reye syndrome. J Pediatr 1978;93:980-2.

Klepser TB, Klepser ME. Unsafe and potentially safe herbal therapies. Am J Health Syst Pharm 1999;56:125-38. View abstract.

Roeder E. Medicinal plants in Europe containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Pharmazie 1995;50:83-98.

Wang YP, Yan J, Fu PP, Chou MW. Human liver microsomal reduction of pyrrolizidine alkaloid N-oxides to form the corresponding carcinogenic parent alkaloid. Toxicol Lett 2005;155:411-20. View abstract.

WHO working group. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Environmental Health Criteria, 80. WHO: Geneva, 1988.