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What is Gelsemium?

Gelsemium is a climbing, woody evergreen vine characterized by very fragrant, bright yellow flowers. Although native to the southwest US, it also grows in Mexico and parts of Central America where it is widely cultivated as an ornamental. Synonymous with G. nitidum, and Bignonia sempervirens. Not to be confused with true jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum). Gelsemium is the state flower of South Carolina.

Scientific Name(s)

Gelsemium sempervirens

Common Name(s)

Gelsemium also is known as yellow or Carolina jasmine, wild, yellow or Carolina jessamine, woodbine, and evening trumpet flower.

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Gelsemium has been used as an ingredient in some analgesic and homeopathic products, but its use has been limited due to its toxicity. At the turn of the century, it was a popular ingredient in asthma and respiratory remedies. Related species have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat neuralgia and various painful conditions.

Miscellaneous uses

Gelsemium and its principle alkaloid gelsemine have been reported to exert central stimulant and analgesic effects, being able to potentiate the effects of aspirin and phenacetin. The plant has been investigated for its anticancer properties. To date, research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of gelsemium for stimulant or analgesic effects.

What is the recommended dosage?

There are no recent clinical studies of gelsemium to provide a basis for dosage recommendations. Classical use of this herb indicated 30 mg of the rhizome. Current use is primarily homeopathic.


No longer considered safe.


Documented adverse effects. Avoid use.


None well documented.

Side Effects

Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with the use of this product.


All parts of the gelsemium are toxic and can cause death when ingested.


1. Gelsemium. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2005. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 16, 2007.

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