Asarabacca is a type of evergreen plant. It grows in Europe and parts of Asia. The root is used to make medicine.

People use asarabacca for conditions such as bronchitis, other lung infections, chest pain (angina), and many others, but there's no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don't confuse asarabacca with bitter milkwort or senega. All three are sometimes called "snakeroot." Also, don't confuse asarabacca with coltsfoot or ginger.
When taken by mouth: Asarabacca that is verified as being "aristolochic acid-free" is POSSIBLY SAFE when used short-term. But asarabacca is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts or for longer durations. Large amount of asarabacca, even that which is verified as being "aristolochic acid-free," may cause nausea, vomiting, burning of the tongue, diarrhea, rash, and paralysis. Asarabacca that is not verified as being "aristolochic acid-free" is UNSAFE when taken by mouth for any length of time. Aristolochic acid can damage the kidney or cause cancer.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take asarabacca if you are pregnant. It might start your period or cause the uterus to contract. These effects might cause a miscarriage. Avoid use.

There isn't enough reliable information to know if asarabacca is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Stomach or intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) problems: Asarabacca can irritate the GI tract. Don't use it if you have ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, or Crohn disease.


NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Asthma.
  • Chest pain (angina).
  • Cough.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Migraine headaches.
  • Dehydration.
  • Liver diseases.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Causing vomiting.
  • Starting the menstrual period.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Asarabacca for these uses.

Dosing & administration

The appropriate dose of asarabacca 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 asarabacca. 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.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if Asarabacca interacts with any medicines. Before taking Asarabacca, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.


The chemicals in asarabacca may have an effect on the lungs. Other chemicals in asarabacca might cause vomiting. has licensed monographs from TRC Healthcare.
This monograph was last reviewed on 26/08/2023 10:00:00 and last updated on 17/09/2014 20:55:59. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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