hellebore lobel

Perennial herbaceous plant up to 1.8 m tall. The rhizome is cylindrical, simple or multifaceted, truncated at the base, black-brown on the outside, with remnants of sheaths of dead leaves and numerous white adventitious roots. Stems are erect, cylindrical, thick, pubescent at the top. The leaves are alternate, amplexicaul, broadly elliptic, up to 25 cm long, decreasing upwards. Flowers unisexual, diverse, in dense racemes, greenish or off-white. The fruit is a three-celled capsule. Blooms in July-August.

The whole plant is highly poisonous.

Hellebore is found in Dagestan, Ukraine (in the Carpathians), in the region of the central Caucasus, in the Krasnodar Territory and the southern Caucasus. Grows in wet meadows and shrubs in floodplains, swamps.

Medicinal raw materials are rhizomes with or without roots. Dug out in the fall or (better) in the spring, the rhizomes are cleaned from the ground and washed in running water, cut into pieces and dried in a well-ventilated room separately from non-poisonous plants. Storage period 3 years.

There are other types of hellebore, for example, black hellebore is similar to white hellebore and differs from it only in black and red flowers. Among the people, black hellebore is used for the same purpose as white hellebore. Hellebore white is harvested on a par with hellebore Lobel.

All parts of the plant contain highly toxic alkaloids (protoveratrin, protoverin, irmine, pervin, ir-merin), glycoalkaloids (pseudopervin, isorubiervin).

The amount of hellebore alkaloids in the form of salts in later times begins to enter medical practice as a means of lowering blood pressure in the treatment of patients with hypertension.

Hellebore powder, when applied to the skin or mucous membranes, has an irritating effect, which is replaced by an anesthetic.

Hellebore alkaloids have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system, as well as on the endings of somatic and autonomic nerves, which is quickly replaced by functional exhaustion.

The action on the heart muscle is manifested in a significant increase in systole and lengthening of diastole, which can lead to cardiac arrest in case of poisoning.

Hellebore alkaloids contribute to contractility and slow down the relaxation of striated muscles. In recent years, data have been obtained on the beneficial effect of protoveratrin in hypertension.

The active principles of hellebore are poisonous and belong to list B, so the collection, processing and storage of raw materials and products require caution.

When collecting and processing raw materials, it is recommended to use moistened masks, there must be good ventilation, etc. Root powder causes severe irritation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and eyes.

In folk medicine, alcoholic or vodka infusions from hellebore, water decoctions and ointments are used as an analgesic for inflammatory diseases of the joints, rheumatism, neuralgia and myalgia, and as a radical remedy for lice. A decoction is used to wash the head with dandruff, for hair growth and lubrication of diseased joints with rheumatism, drink extract or tincture drop by drop for abdominal pain.

In Dagestan, rhizome powder with honey is used in the treatment of malaria.


Homemade tincture (not alcohol-based): 1 part crushed root to 120 parts vodka, infused for 2 weeks.

Ointment: 1 part tincture or condensed decoction to 4 parts vaseline.

The picture of hellebore poisoning: due to irritation of the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract – salivation, sneezing, burning in the mouth, scratching in the throat and esophagus; then join dyspeptic disorders (vomiting, diarrhea), accompanied by intestinal colic and tenesmus. Breathing and pulse slow down, severe headaches, pallor of the skin and visual disturbances are found. Rigidity of the skeletal muscles may occur, followed by convulsions of a clonic-tonic nature, then parasthesias join and a collaptoid state develops.

First aid: gastric lavage with a solution of tannin, a suspension of activated carbon or white clay in water. Then saline laxatives are prescribed. In the end – morphine, caffeine, camphor. If necessary, carry out artificial respiration. With the defeat of the mucous membranes – irrigation with a 2% solution of novocaine. White hellebore should be distinguished from black hellebore, or hellebore, which contains cardiac glycosides.

It is necessary to use products carefully: when more than 1 g of hellebore is ingested, powerful excitation, salivation, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes death occur.

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