Drugs A - Z

Cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum)

Generic Name: Heracleum

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Apiaceae (family), common cow parsnip, giant cow parsnip, Heracleum, Heracleum mantegazzianum, Heracleum maximum, hogweeds, pushki, Sosnovskii's cow parsnip.

Background

Cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) is the only member of the hogweeds that is native to North America. Like other hogweeds, cow parsnip sap can cause blisters and phytophotodermatitis. There is currently insufficient evidence available in humans to support the use of cow parsnip for any indication.

Some Native American tribes used cow parsnip to treat bruises and sores.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Bruises, mosquito repellent, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for cow parsnip in adults.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for cow parsnip in children.

Safety

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings

There are few adverse effects due to cow parsnip reported in the available literature. There are a few case reports of contact dermatitis and acute bullous dermatitis and toxic phytophotodermatitis. Avoid contact with the plant sap as it can cause blisters and phytophotodermatitis.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Cow parsnip is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

Cow parsnip may cause contact dermatitis, including phytophotodermatitis or acute bullous dermatitis. Caution is advised when taking other photosensitizing agents as the risk of side effects may increase.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Based on several case reports, cow parsnip may cause contact dermatitis, including phytophotodermatitis or acute bullous dermatitis. Caution is advised when taking other photosensitizing agents as the risk of side effects may increase.

Attribution

This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Emily Kyomitmaitee, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).

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