Health Benefits of Hellebore
One of the more controversial herbal remedies still in use today is hellebore, which has been known for thousands of years as both a poison and a medicinal remedy for certain conditions. It is actually the common name for more than 20 different species of herbaceous perennial plants of the genus Helleborus, and the two most common forms are black hellebore and white hellebore, two distinctly different forms. Most species within this genus are poisonous, but there are some that can be manipulated by expert herbalists to be administered safely, as there are some powerful effects of the herb that can be beneficial to our health.
White hellebore is technically a different plant from a completely different family, but it is still widely considered a variety of hellebore. This variety is believed to have purgative effects, while black hellebore has a wider range of applications. Both types are toxic in inappropriate doses, so under no circumstances should you try to prepare a herbal remedy of hellebore at home. The side effects are quite serious, up to and including death, so if you are considering the application of hellebore for one of your ailments, be very careful and only do so under guidance from a professional. With that caution in mind, let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of hellebore.
Health Benefits of Hellebore
Purgative: While forcing yourself to excrete does not seem like something that you would ever want to do, there are certain situations where emptying your stomach is the best thing for you, particularly if you have consumed something toxic in too large of a quantity. A purgative (laxative) basically makes your body’s rejection mechanisms go into overdrive and cause your body to force substances out by loosening up the bowel passages. White and black hellebore were both used as extremely effective purgatives in ancient history, particularly in Greece. However, due to its extremely toxic nature, consuming the plant to force it out of the stomach is just as dangerous and can result in death or a number of other side effects.
Diuretic: Taken in very small doses, hellebore has demonstrated reliable diuretic properties, which is a slower and less violent way of excreting toxins from the body. By stimulating urination, it can help the body release excess fats, salts, water, and toxins from the body, thereby cleansing the kidneys and improving your overall health.
Menstrual Health: Increasing blood flow to the pelvic region, particularly in females, can be dangerous in some cases, such as during pregnancy, but in other situations, a substance that functions as an emmenagogue can be very helpful in regulating periods and improving overall reproductive health. Hellebore does just that, but as mentioned before, should only be administered or considered after thorough discussions with your doctor that may bring about other, safer options for the same effect.
Reduce Fever: Although the white and black hellebore tend to get most of the attention, green hellebore also has a known use as a fever reducer, and was widely used in the treatment of typhus and other fevers in American antiquity. This can help speed healing and ease distress and discomfort, but should only ever be administered by a trained herbalist of physician.
Weight Loss: Due to hellebore’s ability to cause urination and excretion, it has occasionally been used for people trying to lose weight quickly. If you want to reduce water weight and clear out your gut, then it can achieve that, but it can be very dangerous to force your body into this sort of emptying process on a regular basis, i.e. eating disorders.
Anti-Spasmodic: Very small doses have been linked to reducing spasmodic disorders in children, such as epilepsy or other muscle/neurological conditions. The powerful chemicals found in hellebore can soothe that part of the body and mind, but as always, there is a high risk with any type of hellebore use, so always consult a medical professional first to see if there are other viable options.
Anti-Parasitic: In many countries, due to food quality standards and living conditions, parasites are still a very real problem, and things like intestinal worms can exacerbate existing nutritional deficiencies and make life miserable. Small doses of hellebore, perhaps because of its highly toxic nature, have been associated with successfully eliminating worms in the digestive tract.
A Final Word of Warning: This cannot be stressed enough; hellebore should only be used when you have exhausted other options and you have thoroughly consulted with medical professionals or herbalists. All varieties of hellebore in common use are poisonous to a certain degree, but with proper processing, dosage, and guidance, there are some health benefits that can be gleaned. Be very careful when handling, consuming, or treating yourself with hellebore of any kind.