Ready to fight fire with fire? That’s what homeopathic medicine is all about. Homeopathy’s underpinning belief is that if you take small doses of something that causes certain symptoms in a healthy person, it will help to treat conditions that trigger the same symptoms. So where does sabadilla fit in all of this?
What is Sabadilla officinarum?
This plant is part of the lily family and has been used as a homeopathic remedy for allergies, hay fever, colds, and intestinal worms.
Agricultural pros actually use it as a pesticide, as it has toxic qualities. But as humans are, well, slightly larger than insects, it causes irritation similar to the effects of allergies. Homeopaths suggest that this helps your body adapt.
Science gives a hard *shrug* on the topic though. There are zero studies on sabadilla directly, and academic reviews don’t see the research on homeopathy as reliable evidence of its positive effects on allergy symptoms.
We’ve got all the deets on sabadilla’s uses in homeopathy and whether it actually works.
Sabadilla is a plant that grows in Central America and Mexico. It’s actually toxic, and farmers use it as an insecticide since it contains an alkaloid compound (veratrine) that poisons insects. According to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, the alkaloid affects their nerve cells. This can lead to paralysis and death.
Its effect on humans is not as severe, but it still can be quite irritating. When the plant dries out and you have exposure to the dust, your skin and mucous membranes become irritated, causing a sneezing fit and itchy eyes.
In line with the theories of homeopathic medicine, this supposedly helps your body get used to allergy symptoms and learn to manage them in the future. But the research supporting this is muddy at best.
Since consuming sabadilla creates the same symptoms as hay fever or allergies, homeopathic practitioners often prescribe it to treat these conditions.
Homeopathic medicine can come in the form of ointment, gels, drops, creams, and tablets. The type of treatment needed depends on the individual, but people often take homeopathic treatments as either a pill or liquid.
The sabadilla products you choose will usually come with dosage recommendations. Often, you take it until your symptoms have gone away. If you take three doses and see no improvements, it’s a good idea to chat with your doc or health professional. Sabadilla might not be for you.
Beyond treatment for hay fever, allergies, or the common cold, homeopaths have also prescribed sabadilla for:
- worms like tapeworms and pinworms
- head lice
Take note: sabadilla’s recommendations for these conditions have been through word of mouth in the homeopathic community, with no hard science to back it up.
Sabadilla during pregnancy
If you have a bun in the oven, it’s best to approach any homeopathic medicine with caution — including sabadilla. According to a 2016 systematic review, researchers haven’t tested many of the compounds used in homeopathic medicine for possible adverse effects during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.
Although peeps have used homeopathic medicine for hundreds of years, there’s more anecdotal than scientific evidence backing it up. That means individual experiences or observations of homeopathic medicine claim to have seen positive effects, but the actual research is lacking.
Just like conventional medicine, have your doc or healthcare pro cosign any sabadilla treatments you want to take during pregnancy. What goes into your bod has to be safe for Baby and you.
Sabadilla for allergies
When you’re exposed to sabadilla, it irritates the mucous membranes in your nose and triggers allergy symptoms. The belief is that triggering these symptoms will improve the body’s natural defenses and stimulate the healing process.
While there isn’t research on sabadilla’s effectiveness for allergy management, a 2017 systematic review concluded that there’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to homeopathic medicine’s allergy-treating abilities.
The review looked at 11 different studies, and homeopathic medicine’s positive effect, when compared to a placebo treatment, was teeny-tiny. The researchers tell you to take the results with a grain of salt.
At some point in your life, you’ve had a runny nose at the hands of allergies or the common cold. (If you haven’t, tell us your secrets.) But for those few uninitiated, here are the symptoms:
- runny/stuffy nose
- watery and itchy eyes
- itchy or sore throat
Not according to reliable studies.
In general, homeopathic medicine doesn’t have a lot of research singing its praises. Most adults self-prescribe these medicines to help with mild conditions like the common cold or muscle pains. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll help your symptoms.
A 2017 review of 21 different studies found that some homeopathy treatments could be effective for conditions like dermatitis, eczema, hay fever, and respiratory tract infections. The outcome wasn’t the same for depression, cancer, dementia, or osteoarthritis.
The review also noted that the research quality needs to improve big-time so that the credibility of homeopathic medicine can continue to grow (tl;dr: no one is fully convinced it works yet).
Before you go stock up on sabadilla for cold season, be warned that studies on sabadilla alone are basically nonexistent. All that’s known is it does give you the sneezes, runny nose, and watery eyes that match what you’d experience with allergies or a cold. Whether or not that reduces those symptoms going forward is still a mystery.
Always check in with your doctor!
If you want to give sabadilla a try, it’s important to first discuss it with your doctor. This will help you make sure you’re taking it the right way at the correct dosage, and that it’s a safe option for you.
Homeopathic medicines highly dilute the active ingredients to avoid severe side effects or drug interactions.
But some products can still contain high concentrations of toxic ingredients since there are no homeopathic products that have FDA approval for safety and effectiveness. This may leave the door open for possible adverse effects.
While you take homeopathic meds, the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists (AAHP) recommends swerving conventional medicine altogether. The reason behind this is because conventional medicines work to “suppress” symptoms rather than “support” the body’s natural healing process.
If you take medicines to manage a chronic condition, it’s always important to first speak with your doctor before you skip your regularly prescribed medicine.
The AAHP also suggests not mixing homeopathic medicines with food and drinks that contain stimulants or strong smells, like coffee and peppermint. That means waiting about 15 minutes after using this medicine to eat or brush your teeth.
When it comes to sabadilla specifically, there are no known drug interactions. The side effects it triggers are those “treating” the conditions you’re taking it for, in the eyes of homeopathic practitioners.
Some people use homeopathic medicine to treat certain conditions by triggering their symptoms. Sabadilla causes similar effects to a cold or allergies, but peeps have also used it to treat worms.
Although it seems logical, there isn’t a lot of research to back up the idea that sabadilla (or any homeopathic medicine) can actually prevent or treat certain conditions. Womp, womp!
If you’re planning to go the homeopathic route, always speak with your doc or healthcare professional first.