July 30, 2016

Water Hemlock

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What other names is Water Hemlock known by?

Beaver Poison, Brook-Tongue, Carotte à Moreau, Children's Bane, Cicuta, Cicuta bulbifera, Cicuta californica, Cicuta douglasii, Cicuta mackenzieana, Cicuta maculata, Cicuta occidentalis, Cicuta vagans, Cicuta virosa, Cicutaire Bulbifère, Cicutaire du Nord, Cigüe Aquatique, Ciguë des Marais, Ciguë Vénéneuse, Ciguë Vireuse, Cowbane, Death-of-Man, European Water Hemlock, False Parsley, Fever Root, Mockeel Root, Muskrat Weed, Musquash Root, Persil des Chats, Persil des Fous, Persil des Marais, Poison Parsnip, Sium douglasii, Snake Weed, Snakeroot, Spotted Cowbane, Spotted Hemlock, Spotted Parsley, Wasser-Schierling, Wild Carrot, Wild Dill, Wild Parsnip.

What is Water Hemlock?

Water hemlock is considered to be the most poisonous plant growing in North America. All parts of the water hemlock are toxic and can cause death in as little as 15 minutes.

Water hemlock grows in marshy, swampy areas of meadows; and along banks of streams, pools, and rivers. Accidental poisonings usually occur when water hemlock is mistaken for edible plants such as artichokes, celery, sweet potatoes, sweet anise, or wild parsnip.

Even though water hemlock is extremely poisonous, it is used as a medicine for migraine headaches, painful menstruation, and worms in the intestines.

Some people apply water hemlock directly to the skin for redness and swelling (inflammation).

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Migraine headaches.
  • Painful menstrual periods.
  • Intestinal worms.
  • Skin redness and swelling (inflammation), when applied to the affected area.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of water hemlock for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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