Helleborus is a member of the crowfoot plant family (ranunculaceae) and is winter blooming with a prominent blossom which takes up to four years to appear. It prefers limestone soils and likes semi-shaded borders of the forest such as beech grooves. It demonstrates bi-polar growth, erratic metamorphosis with strong leaf differentiation. The crowfoot plants have a particular connection to the forces of the spring. The leaves strongly balance the forces of air and water and the strong animal like blossoms of the helleborus nig. point to strong metabolic actions. The black rhizome contains the most pharmacologically active substances but cytotoxic substances permeate the whole plant. The root contains Beta ecdysone which is cytotoxic, anti-epileptic, anxiolytic and has demonstrated improved cognitive function and reduction of CNS inflammation. The roots also contain Helleborin and Makranthosid which act as a diuretic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory and has both apoptosis effects on several cancer cell lines and increases menstrual flow. The leaf contains protoanemonin which has antibiotic, antifungal and anti-mitotic effects. The leaf and blossoms are rich in the flavonoid kaemptferol which has antioxidative, antitumoral and apoptotic effects as well. As a whole plant extract we see immunomodulating and anti-rheumatic effects via lymphocyte proliferation and reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Pharmacological effects from whole extracts of Helleborus niger have only been studied in cell culture experiments. Büssing et al. demonstrated that in the presence of Helleborus niger D3 aquos., the release of proinflammatory cytokines IL-2 and TNF-α by immune cells in peripheral blood (PBMC) could be suppressed in the cultures of some patients depending on the dose. Moreover, the researchers found that the extract had a slightly positive effect on the cell division of lymphocytes. Phagocytic activity of granulocytes, on the other hand, was not impacted. Nor could it be proven in a recent study that Helleborus niger stimulated the killer activity of natural killer cells. On the whole, Helleborus niger tends to display rather anti-inflammatory properties.
Intravenous Helleborus therapy can:
• Reduce generalised inflammation
• Support for anxiety and depression
• Synergic effect with Mistletoe extract
• Reduce lymphoedema and ascitis
• Ease mucolysis and expectoration
• Reduce pain
• Acting as a diuretic, helping to excrete toxins from the body
Note, as some species of helleborus can cause negative health conditions, and can react poorly with prescription and over-the-counter medications it is important to only take helleborus after consultation with a qualified integrative medical professional.