- What other names is Holly known by?
- What is Holly?
- How does Holly work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Dosing considerations for Holly.
Historically, Ilex opaca fruit tea was used as a heart stimulant by American Indians. Ilex vomitoria was used to cause vomiting, and Yaupon tea (mixed leaves of Ilex cassine, Ilex vomitoria, and Ilex dahoon) was used as a ceremonial "cleanser" in South America.
More recently, preparations of holly leaf have been used for coughs, digestive disorders, water retention, and yellowed skin (jaundice). Ilex aquifolium leaves are used for treating fevers that come and go, joint pain (rheumatism), swelling, water retention, and chest congestion. Ilex opaca leaves are used to empty and cleanse the bowels, stimulate the heart, and increase urine flow. Other holly species are used for treating heart disease, dizziness, and high blood pressure.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Digestive disorders.
- Joint pain (rheumatism).
- Water retention.
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- 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).
Quick GuideVitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?
There isn't enough information available to know if holly LEAVES are safe for use. The leaves can cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach and intestinal problems. Swallowing holly leaf spines may tear or puncture the inside of the mouth and other parts of the digestive tract.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not eat the berries. They can kill you. There isn't enough information to know whether using the leaves as medicine during pregnancy or breast-feeding is safe. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Children: Eating holly berries can kill a child. Be sure to keep holly away from children.
Dehydration: In addition to being poisonous, holly berries can make dehydration worse because they cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Incorrect levels of chloride, calcium, magnesium, sodium, or potassium (electrolyte imbalance) in the body: In addition to being poisonous, holly berries can make an electrolyte imbalance worse because they cause vomiting and diarrhea.
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