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Hemlock spruce is a plant. People use the needles and the oil distilled from the needles, branch tips, or branches of fresh fir shoots for medicine.
Hemlock spruce is used for coughs, the common cold, bronchitis, tuberculosis, fever, pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat, muscle and nerve pain, and arthritis. It is also used to fight bacterial infections.
Some people apply hemlock spruce directly to the affected area for inflammation of the respiratory tract, arthritis pain, nerve pain, and for feelings of tension. It is also used topically to improve circulation and as a bath additive for people who are mentally ill.
Hemlock spruce is very similar sounding to water hemlock and European water hemlock, which are entirely different plants. Be careful not to confuse hemlock spruce with either form of water hemlock, because the water hemlocks are very toxic.
How does it work?
There isn't enough information to know how hemlock spruce might work.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- The common cold.
- Pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat.
- Muscle and nerve pain.
- Bacterial infection.
- Arthritis pain.
- Other conditions.
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).
Asthma: There is a concern that hemlock spruce might make asthma worse. Don’t use it.
Whooping cough: There is a concern that hemlock spruce might make whooping cough worse. Don’t use it.
Broken skin: Hemlock spruce should not be applied to broken skin.
Heart problems: Hemlock spruce might make heart problems worse. Don’t use it.
The appropriate dose of hemlock spruce depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for hemlock spruce. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 1998.