What Is Bryonia Alba and What Are Its Uses?

18 March, 2021
Bryonia alba is a homeopathic medicine that has been used to combat inflammatory and digestive disorders. At the same time, other benefits are attributed to it. In this article, we'll tell you more about them.

Bryonia alba has become a well-known homeopathic remedy made from the roots of the plant of the same name, native to central, southern, and eastern Europe.

It belongs to the cucurbitaceae family, characterized by being climbing plants with tendrils. You can recognize it by its pentagonal leaves with sharp teeth, greenish-white flowers and fleshy black berries.

Now, although the fruits of Bryonia alba are toxic, traditional medicine has used the root for therapeutic purposes. What are its main uses? In the following article, we’ll teach you a bit more about this interesting plant and reveal its possible side effects.

What benefits does it have?

The active principles of “white bryonia” (its other name) confer various medicinal properties. Let’s see in detail what they are and also how they can improve our health.

Constipation and fluid retention

Bryonia alba is an emetic; that is, a remedy capable of inducing vomiting. Likewise, it can act as a diuretic, which stimulates the elimination of water and electrolytes through urine.

In general, despite the lack of evidence, popular literature states that it helps the following conditions:

  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Fluid retention
A woman with stomach pain.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that this plant contributes to the relief of digestive problems such as constipation.

Inflammation

People also use bryonia alba for its possible anti-inflammatory effects. It’s often used to reduce joint pain and, in fact, it’s a common ingredient in rheumatoid arthritis and headache medications.

Its mechanism of action involves the dilation of blood vessels, the constriction of which is linked to migraine and various ailments. However, the scientific evidence addressing such properties isn’t entirely conclusive yet.

A clinical trial published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed that the use of an extract of Bryonia and arnica had no effect on the inflammation and bleeding that can occur after cardiac surgery.

Also read: The Best Diet for Inflammation

Anticancer activity

The active compounds that make up white bryonia have been studied as adjuvants against cancer. A study published in the Journal of Natural Products determined that Bryonia alba root extracts have antitumor potential. Because of this, they not only decrease the risk of tumors, but also appear to inhibit the expansion of these cells.

Meanwhile, an in vitro study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine found that this plant has cytotoxic effects; that is, it prevents the division and growth of cells such as cancer cells.

In this case, research indicates that these properties are effective against squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, as well as adenocarcinoma of the cervix or uterine cervix. However, we need human studies to clinically support this theory.

Other benefits of Bryonia alba

Scientists consider Bryonia alba to be a homeopathic remedy. As such, popular culture attributes many other benefits to it. These include the following:

  • Relief of influenza and its symptoms
  • Decrease of mumps
  • Reduction of tracheitis, pneumonia, and bronchitis
  • Control of dry eye syndrome
  • And, finally, relief of vertigo sensation

Side effects and contraindications

The first thing you should know about this plant is that you shouldn’t consume the berries. They have high levels of toxicity, and are capable of causing chronic diseases and even death.

However, the other parts of this plant can also be toxic, but they don’t have fatal consequences. Whatever dose you take, it could cause you to experience symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive urination

On the other hand, given the lack of scientific evidence of its effects in pregnant and lactating women, its intake should be restricted until receiving the approval of a specialist.

Dosage and indications

Homeopathy stipulates different dosages depending on the condition that will be treated with it.

  • During a fever accompanied by sweating, intense thirst, and muscular pain, people recommend consuming 5 Bryonia alba granules in a dilution of 9 CH (centesimal dilution) every 4 hours.
  • In the case of arthritis, the established dose is 5 granules in a dilution of 5 CH distributed in 2 doses per day for 10 days. However, in cases of acute synovitis, the dose should be administered every 2 hours.
  • On the other hand, for dry eye syndrome, they suggest taking Bryonia alba in a dilution of 5 CH, 6 times a day for 3 months.

Note: doses may vary according to the manufacturer of the supplement. Therefore, you should verify the information on the label. In case of doubts, ask your homeopathic doctor or herbalist. You shouldn’t take it in combination with medical treatments due to the risk of interactions.

Jars of Bryonia alba.
The doses and indications of remedies based on Bryonia alba may vary according to the manufacturer.

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What should I remember about Bryonia alba?

Bryonia alba is a homeopathic medicine made from the roots of the plant of the same name. This climbing plant native to the European continent is noted for having pentagonal leaves with sharp teeth, greenish-white flowers, and black poisonous berries.

As for its medicinal properties, people claim it has an anti-inflammatory effect and anti-tumor activity. In addition, it seems useful in the treatment of constipation, mumps, flu, arthritis, and dry eye syndrome.

However, you should always use it under supervision, given the high levels of toxicity. The berries can be deadly and consuming other parts of this plant in its various forms, even in small quantities, can trigger a series of ailments.

  • Cornu, C., Joseph, P., Gaillard, S., Bauer, C., Vedrinne, C., Bissery, A., Melot, G., Bossard, N., Belon, P., & Lehot, J. J. (2010). No effect of a homoeopathic combination of Arnica montana and Bryonia alba on bleeding, inflammation, and ischaemia after aortic valve surgery. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 69(2), 136–142. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2009.03574.x
  • Ukiya, M., Akihisa, T., Yasukawa, K., Tokuda, H., Toriumi, M., Koike, K., Kimura, Y., Nikaido, T., Aoi, W., Nishino, H., & Takido, M. (2002). Anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor-promoting effects of cucurbitane glycosides from the roots of Bryonia dioica. Journal of natural products, 65(2), 179–183. https://doi.org/10.1021/np010423u
  • Pourgonabadi, S., Amiri, M. S., & Mousavi, S. H. (2017). Cytotoxic and apoptogenic effects of Bryonia aspera root extract against Hela and HN-5 cancer cell lines. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 7(1), 66–72.