- What other names is Hemlock known by?
- What is Hemlock?
- How does Hemlock work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Dosing considerations for Hemlock.
Hemlock is native to Europe and western Asia and was introduced into North America as an ornamental plant. It is frequently found in the US and southern Canada. Hemlock typically grows near fences, roadsides, ditches, abandoned construction sites, pastures, crops, and fields, where it can be confused with harmless plants. Accidental poisonings have occurred when people mistook the root for parsnip, leaves for parsley, or seeds for anise.
Despite serious safety concerns, hemlock leaves, root, and seeds are used to make medicine. It is used for breathing problems including bronchitis, whooping cough, and asthma; and for painful conditions including teething in children, swollen and painful joints, and cramps.
Hemlock is also used for anxiety and mania. Other uses include treatment of spasms tumors, skin infections, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, Sydenham's chorea, and bladder infections.
Hemlock has also been used to reverse strychnine poisoning.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Muscle spasms.
- Teething in children.
- Whooping cough.
- Other conditions.
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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muscle pain, rapid swelling and stiffening of muscles, kidney damage, rapid breakdown of muscle tissue and release of muscle tissue byproducts into the blood, rapid heart rate followed by a decreased heart rate, loss of speech, paralysis, unconsciousness, heart, lung, and kidney failure, and death.
Special Precautions & Warnings:It is UNSAFE for anyone to use hemlock, but people with the following conditions are especially likely to experience unwanted side effects.
Children: Use of hemlock is UNSAFE and can be fatal, especially in children. Children can be poisoned by even small amounts of hemlock. Some children have died after eating leaves or using hollow hemlock stems as peashooters, flutes, or whistles. Hemlock should not be used for treating pain in children due to teething.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Use of hemlock is UNSAFE and can be fatal.
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.
Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011