Holly is a popular seasonal plant that can also be poisonous if ingested in large amounts. Holly is poisonous – consuming more than 5 berries can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea – but if used correctly it can be curative. The holly plant is usually turned into a tea that can be used as a diuretic. It also helps cure fever, rheumatism, and bronchitis. It can be found in tea form.
The medicinal parts are the dried foliage leaves, the fresh leaves, the young leafy branches with the ripe berries, and the flowers of the branch tips with the leaves.
Flower and Fruit
Because of the shrinking of the one sex, the flowers are usually dioecious. The inflorescence is a white, 1- to 3-flowered axillary cyme. The calyx is small and has 4 to 5 tips. The corolla is rotate with 5 petals. The ovary is superior and there are 4 to 5 stamens. The coral red fruit is a 4-sectioned, sessile, berrylike, pea-sized drupe with 4 to 5 seeds.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
The plant is a 10 m high evergreen bush or tree with smooth, dark, gray-brown bark. The bark on the younger branches is green and glossy. The branches and foliage are glabrous. The leaves are alternate, coriaceous, stiff, ovate or elliptical, and acute. The lower leaves are thorny denate, the upper ones entire-margined.
The flowers have a weak pleasant scent. The berries are poisonous to children.
The plant is found in central Europe, North America and eastern Asia.
Holly leaves and fruits are the leaves and fruits of Ilex aquifolium.
Christ's Thorn, Holm, Holme Chase, Holy Tree, Hulm, Hulver Bush, Hulver Tree, Mountain Holly
Actions & Pharmacology
Nitrile glycosides: menisdaurin, not cyanogenic
Flavonoids: including, among others, rutin, kaempferol and quercetin glycosides
Caffeic acid derivatives: chlorogenic acid
Sterols: beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol
Triterpenes: alpha-amyrin, alpha-amyrinester, beta-amyrin, ursolic acid
Purine alkaloids: only traces of theobromine
No information is available.
Indications & Usage
Holly is used as a diuretic, for constipation, fevers, gout, rheumatism, and bronchitis and coughs.
In folk medicine, Holly is used for fever, chronic bronchitis, constipation, rheumatism and gout.
Ilex aquifolium is used for conjunctivitis.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.
The intake of more than 5 berries can lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Fatal gastrointestinal inflammation is said to have taken place following the ingestion of very large quantities (20 to 30 berries; Lewin). Stomach emptying and the administration of activated charcoal should therefore be carried out with the intake of more than 10 berries. Further treatment should proceed according to symptoms. Poisonings have not been reported in recent times.
Mode of Administration
As a tea and alcoholic extract for internal use.
5 drops, 1 tablet, or 10 globules every 30 to 60 minutes (acute) or 1 to 3 times daily (chronic); parenterally: 1 to 2 mlLsc acute, 3 times daily; chronic: once a day (HAB34).