Herb: Green Hellebore

Latin name: Helleborus viridis

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Medicinal use of Green Hellebore:

The root is anthelmintic, cardiac, cathartic, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, irritant, violently narcotic and a drastic purgative. The dried root is used, it contains the alkaloids nervine, pseudo-nervine and veratridine. It is best to harvest the root in the autumn. The plant is useful for reducing blood pressure in various conditions of hypertension.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

to April

Habitat of the herb:

Woods, scrub and sunny banks on moist chalk and limestone soils.

Other uses of Green Hellebore:

A decoction of the roots is used as a parasiticide against body lice, fleas etc. This use is somewhat dangerous, see the notes above on toxicity. Plants are suitable for ground cover when spaced about 45cm apart each way.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible, it usually germinates in the autumn to spring. Seed can take 18 months to germinate. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. This species produces flowering plants in 2 - 3 years from seed. Division after flowering or in autumn. Take care since the plant resents disturbance.

Cultivation of Green Hellebore:

Woods, scrub and sunny banks on moist chalk and limestone soils.

Known hazards of Helleborus viridis:

All parts of the plant are poisonous, this poison can possibly be absorbed through the skin.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.