American Veratrum, American White Hellebore, Bugbane, Devil's Bite, Earth Gall, Eléboro Americano, Eléboro Verde, False Hellebore, Faux Hellébore, Green Hellebore, Green Veratrum, Indian Poke, Itchweed, Tabac du Diable, Tickleweed, Varaire Vert, Vératre Vert, Veratro Verde, Veratrum eschscholtzii, Veratrum viride.


Overview Information

American hellebore is a plant. The bulb and root are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, American hellebore has been used for epilepsy, spasms, high blood pressure, fever, fluid retention, and nervousness.

In manufacturing, American hellebore has been used as an insecticide.

Don't confuse American hellebore with European hellebore and pheasant's eye (false hellebore).

How does it work?

American hellebore contains chemicals that can help reduce blood pressure, slow the heartbeat, and have a calming effect (act as a sedative).


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Epilepsy.
  • Spasms.
  • Water retention.
  • Nervousness.
  • Fever.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High blood pressure in pregnancy.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of American hellebore for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

American hellebore is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. There are many possible side effects including irritation of the mouth and throat lining and slowing of the heartbeat.

Large doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, trouble swallowing, nerve problems, blindness, convulsions, paralysis, trouble breathing, and death.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

It is LIKELY UNSAFE for anyone to use American hellebore, but some people have extra reasons not to use it:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to take American hellebore by mouth or apply it to the skin when pregnant or breast-feeding.

Heart disease: There is some concern that American hellebore could make heart disease worse by slowing the heart rate or causing abnormal heart beats.

Irritation of the digestive tract: American hellebore can irritate the digestive tract and should not be used by people with a medical condition affecting the stomach or intestines.



We currently have no information for AMERICAN HELLEBORE Interactions.



The appropriate dose of American hellebore 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 American hellebore. 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


  • BARROW, J. G. and SIKES, C. R. The use of purified veratrum viride alkaloids in the treatment of essential hypertension. Am Heart J 1951;41(5):742-748. View abstract.
  • BRONSKY, D., BERNSTEIN, M., and CHESROW, E. J. Cardiac arrhythmia from Veratrum viride. Geriatrics 1957;12(6):389-393. View abstract.
  • BRUNNER, D., ALTMAN, S., and SCHINDEL, L. Hypertension treatment with alkaloids of Veratrum viride and Veratrum album alone or in combination with hexamethonium salts. Acta Med Scand 1955;151(6):487-498. View abstract.
  • CHEN, K. K., HENDERSON, F. G., and ANDERSON, R. C. The cardiac action of Helleborus glycosides and their aglycones. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1950;99(4:1):325-400. View abstract.
  • Crummett, D., Bronstein, D., and Weaver, Z., III. Accidental Veratrum viride poisoning in three "ramp" foragers. N.C.Med.J. 1985;46(9):469-471. View abstract.
  • FAUST, F. B. Veratrum viride in the treatment of essential hypertension; a report of 40 cases. J Lancet 1951;71(2):65-68. View abstract.
  • FINNERTY, F. A., Jr. and FREIS, E. D. Clinical evaluation of Vergitryl, a new highly purified extract of Veratrum viride. Med Ann Dist.Columbia. 1952;21(2):75-76. View abstract.
  • FREIS, E. D., Stanton, J. R., and MOISTER, F. C. Assay in man of the chemical fractions of Veratrum Viride, and identification of the pure alkaloids germitrine and germidine as potent hypotensive principles derived from the drug. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1950;98(2):166-173. View abstract.
  • FREIS, E. D., Stanton, J. R., Culbertson, J. W., Litter, J., Halperin, M. H., Burnett, C. H., and Wilkins, R. W. THE HEMODYNAMIC EFFECTS OF HYPOTENSIVE DRUGS IN MAN. I. VERATRUM VIRIDE. J Clin Invest 1949;28(2):353-368. View abstract.
  • Gaillard, Y. and Pepin, G. LC-EI-MS determination of veratridine and cevadine in two fatal cases of Veratrum album poisoning. J Anal.Toxicol. 2001;25(6):481-485. View abstract.
  • Garnier, R., Carlier, P., Hoffelt, J., and Savidan, A. [Acute dietary poisoning by white hellebore (Veratrum album L.). Clinical and analytical data. A propos of 5 cases]. Ann.Med.Interne (Paris) 1985;136(2):125-128. View abstract.
  • GOURZIS, J. and BAUER, R. O. Chronic toxicity of a purified extract of Veratrum viride. Proc.Soc.Exp Biol Med 1951;76(4):767-770. View abstract.
  • Jaffe, A. M., Gephardt, D., and Courtemanche, L. Poisoning due to ingestion of Veratrum viride (false hellebore). J.Emerg.Med. 1990;8(2):161-167. View abstract.
  • KAUNTZE, R. and TROUNCE, J. Treatment of arterial hypertension with veriloid (Veratrum viride). Lancet 12-1-1951;2(22):1002-1008. View abstract.
  • Komchatov, IuN and Nasirov, G. S. [Poisoning by a tincture of false hellebore]. Sud.Med.Ekspert. 1988;31(1):51-52. View abstract.
  • Korol, B., Zuber, A. V., and Miller, L. D. Carotid sinus pressure reflex bioassay for Veratrum viride. J Pharm Sci 1970;59(8):1110-1113. View abstract.
  • MARCHETTI, G. [Effect of two new alkaloids of Veratrum viride on the circulatory apparatus.]. Arch Ital Sci Farmacol. 1954;4(1):15-27. View abstract.
  • McCALL, M. L. Cerebral circulation and metabolism in toxemia of pregnancy; observations on the effects of veratrum viride and apresoline (1-hydrazinophthalazine). Am J Obstet.Gynecol. 1953;66(5):1015-1030. View abstract.
  • McNAIR, J. D. and GRIFFITH, G. C. Longterm study of the hypotensive effects of veratrum viride in hypertensive patients. Am J Med 1950;8(4):540. View abstract.
  • MEILMAN, E. and KRAYER, O. Clinical studies on veratrum alkaloids; the action of protoveratrine and veratridine in hypertension. Circulation 1950;1(2):204-213. View abstract.
  • MILLS, L. C. and MOYER, J. H. Treatment of hypertension with orally and parenterally administered purified extracts of veratrum viride; comparison with ganglionic (Hexamethonium) and adrenergic blocking agents. AMA.Arch Intern Med 1952;90(5):587-601. View abstract.
  • NEWMAN, A. J. Intoxication with Veratrum viride. J Pediatr 1952;40(2):233-234. View abstract.
  • PERDUE, A. S., BELL, F., and . Acute and chronic toxicity of Veratrum viride. J Am Pharm Assoc Am Pharm Assoc 1950;39(2):91-94. View abstract.
  • Prince, L. A. and Stork, C. M. Prolonged cardiotoxicity from poison lilly (Veratrum viride). Vet.Hum.Toxicol. 2000;42(5):282-285. View abstract.
  • RHOADS, E. E. and SCHMIDT, R. T. Veratrum viride in the treatment of eclampsia. Am J Obstet.Gynecol. 1951;61(4):914-918. View abstract.
  • ROESCH, E. [Effect of cevadine, veratridine and Veratrum viride extract on blood pressure and respiration in dog.]. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Exp Pathol.Pharmakol. 1954;222(1-2):209-212. View abstract.
  • ROYCE, S. W. Hypertension in childhood; treatment of acute nephritis with a derivative of veratrum viride. Calif.Med 1956;84(5):347-350. View abstract.
  • SHAPIRO, A. P. and Ferris, E. B. The effects of intravenously administered Veratrum viride in hypertensive and normotensive subjects. Ann Intern Med 1952;36(3):792-806. View abstract.
  • SHAPIRO, A. P., Brust, A. A., and Ferris, E. B. A comparative study of the effects of Veratrum viride and tetraethylammonium chloride in hypertension. Ann Intern Med 1952;36(3):807-810. View abstract.
  • STEARNS, N. S. and ELLIS, L. B. Acute effects of intravenous administration of a preparation of Veratrum viride in patients with severe forms of hypertensive disease. N.Engl.J Med 3-13-1952;246(11):397-400. View abstract.
  • ZUMOFF, B. Temporary atrioventricular conduction disturbance associated with ingestion of Veratrum viride. Am Heart J 1954;47(4):630-633. View abstract.
  • ZUPKO, A. G. and EDWARDS, L. D. A study of a depressor principle of Veratrum viride. J Am Pharm Assoc Am Pharm Assoc 1950;39(11):610-615. View abstract.
  • Bechtel LK, Lawrence DT, Haverstick D, et al. Ingestion of false hellebore plants can cross-react with a digoxin clinical chemistry assay. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2010;48(5):435-42. View abstract.
  • Forrester JD, Price JH, Holstege CP. Intoxication with a ramp (Allium tricocca) mimicker. False hellebore (Veratrum viride) ingestion. Wilderness Environ Med. 2010;21(1):61-3. View abstract.
  • Medicinal Plants. Springer Verlag: Lavoisier, NY, 1995.
  • Zagler B, Zelger A, Salvatore C, et al. Dietary poisoning with Veratrum album--a report of two cases. Wien Klin Wochenschr 2005;117:106-8. View abstract.

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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.

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