The medicinal part is derived from the aerial parts of the herb, which are collected during the flowering season and dried.
Flower and Fruit
The erect, solitary, terminal flower is 4 to 7 cm in diameter and the 5 broad-ovate, downy sepals are half as long as the petals. The 10 to 20 petals are narrow, wedge-shaped, simple or finely serrated at the tip. They are 20 to 40 mm long and lemon-yellow, splayed, glossy, reddish on the outside or greenish-tinged. There are numerous stamens and carpels. The small fruit forms a globose capitulum. The fruit is tomentose, wrinkled, laterally veined and keeled with a sideways-facing, hook-shaped beak. The fruit are arranged on the spindle-shaped, oblong receptacle.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
The plant is 10 to 40 cm high with a sturdy, black-brown rhizome. The stem is erect, undivided, covered with scales at the base, vertically grooved and succulent. There are few branches. The leaves have many slits and a curved, glabrous or sparsely haired tip. The middle leaves are half-clasping.
Adonis is a poisonous plant.
This Siberian/east European plant is found in the north as far as the central Urals and southwest Sweden. In central Europe, it is limited to the basins of the Weichsel and the Oder as far as the Main and Rhine.
The drug is gathered in forests and should be dried quickly.
Not to be Confused With
Other Adonis species may be added to Adonidis herba.
False Hellebore, Yellow Pheasant's Eye, Ox-eye, Sweet Vernal, Pheasant's Eye, Red Morocco, Rose-a-Rubie
Actions & Pharmacology
Cardioactive steroid gylcosides (cardenolids): including adonitoxin, k-strophanthoside, k-strophanthoside-β and cymarin
Flavonoids: including vitexin and luteolin
Adonis has a positive inotropic effect. Animal tests demonstrated a tonic effect on the veins. The adonitoxin component is slightly more toxic than coumarin. The drug is insufficiently documented.
Indications & Usage
Approved by Commission E:
- Nervous heart complaints
The drug is used for mild impairment of heart functions (NYHA I and II), especially when accompanied by nervous symptoms.
In Russian folk medicine, the drug is used for dehydration, cramps, fever and menstrual disorders, but efficacy is unproven.
Preparations of Adonis vernalis are used for cardiac insufficiency.
Adonis is contraindicated in conjunction with digitalis glycoside therapy and also in potassium deficiency.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
Despite the strong efficacy of the drug's cardioactive steroid gylcosides in parenteral application, serious poisoning in the course of per oral administration is hardly to be expected due to the low resorption rate.
Concurrent use is contraindicated.
For possible symptoms of overdose and treatment of poisonings see Digitalis folium.
Mode of Administration
Comminuted herb and preparations thereof for internal use.
The average daily dose is 0.6 gm of standardized Adonis powder. The maximum single dose is 1.0 gm; maximum daily dose is 3.0 gm.
From D2: 5 to 10 drops, 1 tablet or 5 to 10 globules, 1 to 3 times daily; Injection solution: 1 ml once a week sc. From D4: Injection solution: 1 ml twice weekly sc.
Adonis herb and powder should be stored carefully. Adonis powder should be stored away from light in tightly sealed containers.