Hazardous herbs

I prefer to use herbal medications rather than pharmaceuticals, partly because herbs are gentler and safer. However I am not suggesting that herbs are harmless. Indeed some can be deadly. Listed below are some herbs that should not be taken internally without special care or professional supervision, though some are quite safe for external use (for example, arnica).

Arnica (Arnica montana)

Belladonna (Atropa belladonna)

Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara)

Bryony (Bryonia dioica)

Chaparral (Larrea tridentata)

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) (The roots are for external use only. The leaves can be taken internally but avoid excessive consumption.)

European pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

False hellebore (Veratrum viride)

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)

Indian snakeroot (Rauwolfia serpentina)

Ipecac (Cephaelis ipecacuanha)

Jimsonweed (Datura stamonium)

Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)

Male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)

Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum)

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Mistletoe (Viscum album)

Pasqueflower (Anemone pulsatilla)

Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegiodes) (

Pheasant's eye (Adonis vernalis)

Pokeberry (Phytolacca americana)

Squill (Urginea maritima)

Yellow jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Take care, not fright!

Other herbs also cause side effects, especially if they are taken in large doses and some herbs should only be taken when under the supervision of a herbal practitioner or other knowledgeable health professional. There is no need to be scared or too afraid to become more self-reliant. However, due care must be taken and sometimes professional advice, supervision or tuition is a worthwhile and sensible step in becoming self-reliant.


Duke, J.A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.




The Health Gazette

Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Personal details used only by us and not given to others for any reason.