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Overview Information

Squill is a plant. The bulbs of the plant are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, people take squill to treat mild heart failure, irregular heartbeat, “nervous” heart complaints, and certain vein problems. They also take it as a “heart tonic.”

Squill is used for lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, asthma with bronchitis, and whooping cough.

Some people take squill to relieve fluid retention (edema), thin mucus, induce vomiting, or cause an abortion.

In manufacturing, squill is used in pest control as rat poison.

How does it work?

The chemicals in squill affect the heart. They can also thin mucus secretions in the lungs.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Coronary heart disease (CHD). Early research suggests that injecting methylproscillaridin, a chemical in squill, intravenously (by IV) might improve heart function in people with coronary heart disease.
  • Abnormal heart rhythm and other heart problems.
  • Fluid retention (edema).
  • Bronchitis.
  • Asthma.
  • Whooping cough.
  • Thinning mucus.
  • Inducing vomiting.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of squill for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Squill is UNSAFE when taken by mouth. It causes stomach irritation, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, vision changes, depression, confusion, hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, and skin rash. More serious side effects such as seizures, life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms, and death have occurred.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

It is UNSAFE for anyone to take squill by mouth, but people with the following conditions have even more reasons not to use it:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s UNSAFE to take squill by mouth if you are pregnant. It might cause a miscarriage. It’s also UNSAFE to take squill if you are breast-feeding.

Heart conditions: Do not use squill if you have certain heart conditions, such as complete heart block, abnormally thick heart muscle, abnormally fast heart beats, or a condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Squill could make your condition worse.

Low potassium levels or high calcium levels in the blood (electrolyte imbalance): Do not use squill if you have one of these conditions. Squill could make your electrolyte imbalance worse.

Stomach and bowel problems: Squill can irritate the stomach and intestines. Don’t use it if you have any stomach or bowel conditions.



Major Interaction

Do not take this combination

  • Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with SQUILL

    Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. Squill also seems to affect the heart. Taking squill along with digoxin can increase the effects of digoxin and increase the risk of side effects. Do not take squill if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin) without talking to your health care professional.

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Calcium supplements interacts with SQUILL

    Squill can stimulate the heartbeat. Calcium might also affect the heart. Taking squill along with calcium might cause the heart to be too stimulated. Do not take squill along with calcium supplements.

  • Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids) interacts with SQUILL

    Squill might affect the heart. Some medications for inflammation can decrease potassium in the body. Low potassium levels can also affect the heart and increase the risk of side effects from squill.
    Some medications for inflammation include dexamethasone (Decadron), hydrocortisone (Cortef), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisone (Deltasone), and others.

  • Quinidine interacts with SQUILL

    Squill can affect the heart. Quinidine can also affect the heart. Taking quinidine along with squill might cause serious heart problems.

  • Stimulant laxatives interacts with SQUILL

    Squill can affect the heart. The heart uses potassium. Laxatives called stimulant laxatives can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the chance of side effects squill.
    Some stimulant laxatives include bisacodyl (Correctol, Dulcolax), cascara, castor oil (Purge), senna (Senokot), and others.

  • Water pills (Diuretic drugs) interacts with SQUILL

    Squill might affect the heart. "Water pills" can decrease potassium in the body. Low potassium levels can also affect the heart and increase the risk of side effects from squill.
    Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Microzide), and others.



The appropriate dose of squill 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 squill. 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.

View References


  • Walli, F., Grob, P. J., and Muller-Schoop, J. [Pseudo-(venocuran-)lupus--a minor episode in the history of medicine]. Schweiz.Med Wochenschr. 9-19-1981;111(38):1398-1405. View abstract.
  • Dallari, A. and Barbaresi, F. [Clinical experimentation with a cardiokinetic extracted from squill: 3-beta-ramnoside-14-beta-hydroxy-delta-4,20,22-bufatrienolide (proscillaridine A)]. Clin Ter. 10-31-1965;35(2):126-141. View abstract.
  • Robbers JE, Tyler VE. Tyler's Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York, NY: The Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.
  • Stauch, M., Grewe, N., and Belz, G. G. [Effect of proscillaridin-4'-methylether on pressure rise velocity in the left ventricle of patients with coronary heart disease (author's transl)]. Klin.Wochenschr. 7-15-1977;55(14):705-706. View abstract.
  • Tuncok Y, Kozan O, Cavdar C, et al. Urginea maritima (squill) toxicity. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1995;33:83-6. View abstract.
  • United States Pharmacopeial Convention I, editor. Drug Information for the Health Care Professional. 19th ed. Micromedex, 1999.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
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