Black hellebore, Christe herbe, Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, malampode
The active ingredients of black hellebore are obtained from the rhizome and root of HelIeborus niger. The whole black hellebore plant is considered poisonous. Black hellebore root contains glycosides with cardioactive properties similar to digitalis. It also contains saponins that can cause irritation to the mucous membranes. Topical application of the plant may cause serious skin irritation. Black hellebore is available as liquid extract, powder, and tincture.
Safety Risk Medicinal use isn’t recommended because of the poisonous nature of the black hellebore plant and its highly toxic adverse effects. Its use has been associated with arrhythmias, bradycardia, and respiratory failure.
Black hellebore is used to treat nausea, worm infestations, amenorrhea, and anxiety. It’s also used as a laxative and as an abortifacient. Because of its possible immunostimulatory effects, black hellebore is used as adjuvant therapy in cancer patients. It’s used in homeopathy to treat eclampsia, epilepsy, meningitis, encephalitis, and mental disorders.
The average daily dose in one source in 0.05 g, with a maximum single dose of 0.2 g.
Adverse reactions to black hellebore include dizziness, irregular pulse, blindness, burning sensations in the mouth and pharynx, increased salivation, sneezing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, VOmiting, and shortness of breath. Use With cardiac drugs such as antiarrhythmics, beta blockers, and cardiac glycosides could increase the potential for increased or decreased effects of these drugs. Increased sedation and respiratory depression may be seen with CNS depressants.
The concepts behind the use of black hellebore and the claims made regarding its effects haven’t yet been validated scientifically.