- Apiaceae (family), common cow parsnip, giant cow parsnip, Heracleum, Heracleum mantegazzianum, Heracleum maximum, hogweeds, pushki, Sosnovskii’s cow parsnip.
- Cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) is the only member of the hogweeds that is native to North America. Like other hogweeds, cow parsnip sap can cause blisters and phytophotodermatitis. There is currently insufficient evidence available in humans to support the use of cow parsnip for any indication.
- Some Native American tribes used cow parsnip to treat bruises and sores.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
*Key to grades:
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (18 years and older)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for cow parsnip in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for cow parsnip in children.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
- Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) or its constituents.
Side Effects and Warnings
- There are few adverse effects due to cow parsnip reported in the available literature. There are a few case reports of contact dermatitis and acute bullous dermatitis and toxic phytophotodermatitis. Avoid contact with the plant sap as it can cause blisters and phytophotodermatitis.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- Cow parsnip is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Interactions with Drugs
- Cow parsnip may cause contact dermatitis, including phytophotodermatitis or acute bullous dermatitis. Caution is advised when taking other photosensitizing agents as the risk of side effects may increase.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
- Based on several case reports, cow parsnip may cause contact dermatitis, including phytophotodermatitis or acute bullous dermatitis. Caution is advised when taking other photosensitizing agents as the risk of side effects may increase.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
- This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().
- Kriazheva SS, Khamaganova IV, Kolibrina AM. [Dermatitis bullosa in children caused by cow-parsnip]. Pediatriia. 1991;(6):88-90.
- Maksakova GP. [Case of contact dermatitis caused by Sosnovskii’s cow parsnip]. Vestn.Dermatol Venerol. 1978;(8):48-49.
- Prinz VL, Kostler H. [Report on 3 cases of toxic phytophotodermatitis due to Heracleum mantegazzianum (giant cow parsnip)]. Dermatol Monatsschr. 1976;162(11):881-886.
- Rogov VD. [Acute bullous dermatitis developing after contact with cow parsnip (Heracleum)]. Vestn.Dermatol Venerol. 1985;(11):58-59.
- Sokolova EM. [Bullous occupational dermatitis caused by the cow parsnip]. Vestn.Dermatol Venerol. 1968;42(2):64-67.
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.