Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

1-[(4-Hydroxyphenyl)methyl]-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline-6,7-diol; 1-(p-hydroxybenzyl)-6,7-Dihydroxy-1,2,3,4-Tetrahydroisoquinolin; 1(S)-Norcoclaurine; dl-Demethylcoclaurine; DMC; Higénamine; Higenamine Hydrobromide; Higenamine Hydrochloride; Higenamine Oxalate; Higenamine Tartrate; Norcoclaurine; O-Demethylcoclaurine.


Higenamine is a chemical found in several plants including aconite, Annona squamosa, Nandina domestica (sacred bamboo), and others.

In supplements, higenamine is now showing up in products promoted as a pre-workout supplement for improving athletic performance. There is also interest in using higenamine for weight loss, cough, asthma, heart failure, and erectile dysfunction.

How does it work?

Higenamine works like a stimulant. In some parts of the body it causes tissues to relax. In other parts of the body, such as the heart, it causes tissue to contract. It seems to increase heart contractions and speed up the heart rate.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Weight loss.
  • Athletic performance.
  • Cough.
  • Asthma.
  • Breathing disorders.
  • Heart failure.
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate higenamine 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).

Side Effects

Higenamine is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. The purified or extracted chemical higenamine has not been studied in people. Therefore, its safety is not clear. However, higenamine is one of the main chemicals in a plant called aconite. Aconite has been shown to cause serious heart-related side effects including arrhythmias and even death. These side effects from aconite ingestions may, in part, be caused by the higenamine chemical.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough information to know if higenamine is safe during pregnancy and breast feeding. It should be avoided.

Irregular heartbeat (heart arrhythmia): Higenamine might cause a rapid heartbeat. Therefore it could potentially worsen an irregular heartbeat. If you have an irregular heartbeat, do not take higenamine.

Surgery: Higenamine acts like a stimulant, so it might interfere with surgery by increasing heart rate. Stop taking higenamine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Higenamine might slow blood clotting. Taking it along with other medications that might slow blood clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Stimulant drugsInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Stimulant drugs can speed up the nervous system and heart. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and speed up your heartbeat. Higenamine might also speed up the nervous system and heart. Taking higenamine along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems such as an increased heart rate. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with higenamine.

Some stimulant drugs include diethylpropion (Tenuate), epinephrine, phentermine (Ionamin), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and many others.

Propranolol (Inderal)Interaction Rating: Minor Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Higenamine stimulates the heart and causes it to beat faster and stronger. Taking propranolol (Inderal) seems to reduce this effect.


The appropriate dose of higenamine 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 higenamine. 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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