Star of Bethlehem is a plant. The bulb of the plant contains chemicals that have been used as a medicine.
Despite serious safety concerns, people take star of Bethlehem for congestive heart failure (CHF).
How it works
Chemicals contained in the bulb of star of Bethlehem have an action similar to a prescription drug called digoxin.
Not ProvenHeart failure
Individuals report that taking extracts of star of Bethlehem can improve heart function, decrease lung congestion, and decrease water retention in the legs. But a formal scientific study is needed to determine whether these benefits are typical.
Star of Bethlehem is UNSAFE to use as a medicine. It contains powerful chemicals called cardiac glycosides. These chemicals are similar to the prescription drug digoxin. This product should not be used without close medical supervision due to potentially life-threatening side effects such as irregular heartbeat.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It'sUNSAFEto take star of Bethlehem whether you arepregnantor not. The cardiac glycosides in star of Bethlehem can cause harm, includingdeath.Are there any interactions with medications?
Star of Bethlehem can affect the heart. Some antibiotics might increase how much star of Bethlehem the body absorbs. Taking star of Bethlehem along with some antibiotics might increase the effects and side effects caused by star of Bethlehem.Some of these antibiotics, called macrolide antibiotics, include erythromycin, azithromycin, and clarithromycin.Star of Bethlehem can affect the heart. Some antibiotics might increase how much star of Bethlehem the body absorbs. Taking star of Bethlehem along with some antibiotics might increase the effects and side effects caused by star of Bethlehem.Some of these antibiotics include demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline (Achromycin).Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. Star of Bethlehem also seems to affect the heart. Taking star of Bethlehem along with digoxin can increase the effects and the risk of side effects of digoxin and star of Bethlehem. Do not take star of Bethlehem if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin) without talking to your healthcare professional.Quinine
Star of Bethlehem can affect the heart. Quinine can also affect the heart. Taking quinine along with star of Bethlehem might cause serious heart problems.Water pills (Diuretic drugs)
Star of Bethlehem can affect the heart. The heart uses potassium. Laxatives called stimulant laxatives can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the chance of side effects from star of Bethlehem.Some stimulant laxatives include bisacodyl (Correctol, Dulcolax), cascara, castor oil (Purge), senna (Senokot), and others.Star of Bethlehem can affect the heart. "Water pills" can decrease potassium in the body. Low potassium levels can also affect the heart and increase the risk of side effects from star of Bethlehem.Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Microzide), and others.