Dusty Miller

Other Name(s):

Cinéraire Maritime, Cineraria maritima, Jacobaea Maritima, Senecio Bicolor, Senecio cineraria, Séneçon Cendré, Séneçon Cinéraire, Séneçon Maritime, Silver Ragwort.


Dusty miller is an herb. The parts of the plant that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, people take dusty miller to treat “spots before the eyes” and migraine headache. Women use it to start their menstrual periods.

Dusty miller is sometimes used as an eyewash for cataracts and blurred vision.

How does it work?

There isn't enough information available to know how dusty miller works.

Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Migraine headache.
  • Starting menstrual flow.
  • Vision problems, when different preparations are taken by mouth or used as an eyewash.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of dusty miller for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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Side Effects

Dusty miller can be UNSAFE for people to use. There's a lot of concern about using dusty miller as medicine, because it can contain chemicals called hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which may block blood flow in the veins and cause liver damage. Hepatotoxic PAs might also cause cancer and birth defects. Dusty miller preparations that are not certified and labeled “hepatotoxic PA-free” are considered UNSAFE.

It's also UNSAFE to apply dusty miller to broken skin. The dangerous chemicals in dusty miller can be absorbed quickly through broken skin and can lead to dangerous body-wide toxicity. Steer clear of skin products that aren't certified and labeled “hepatotoxic PA-free.” There isn't enough information to know if it's safe to apply dusty miller to unbroken skin. It's best to avoid use.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to use dusty miller preparations that might contain hepatotoxic PAs during pregnancy. These products might cause birth defects and liver damage.

It's also UNSAFE to use dusty miller preparations that might contain hepatotoxic PAs if you are breast-feeding. These chemicals can pass into breast-milk and might harm the nursing infant.

It's not known whether products that are certified hepatotoxic PA-free are safe to use during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using any dusty miller preparation if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Dusty miller may cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking dusty miller.

Liver disease: There is concern that the hepatotoxic PAs in dusty miller might make liver disease worse.


Medications that increase break down of other medications by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 [CYP3A4] inducers)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Dusty miller is broken down by the liver. Some chemicals that form when the liver breaks down dusty miller can be harmful. Medications that cause the liver to break down dusty miller might enhance the toxic effects of chemicals contained in dusty miller.

Some of these medicines include carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin, rifabutin (Mycobutin), and others.


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The appropriate dose of dusty miller depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for dusty miller. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 6/14/2021

Chojkier M. Hepatic sinusoidal-obstruction syndrome: toxicity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. J Hepatol 2003;39:437-46. View abstract.

Danesch U, Rittinghausen R. Safety of a patented special butterbur root extract for migraine prevention. Headache 2003;43:76-8.. View abstract.

Food and Drug Administration. FDA Advises Dietary Supplement Manufacturers to Remove Comfrey Products From the Market. July 6, 2001. Available at: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/dspltr06.html.

Roeder E. Medicinal plants in Europe containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Pharmazie 1995;50:83-98.

Wang YP, Yan J, Fu PP, Chou MW. Human liver microsomal reduction of pyrrolizidine alkaloid N-oxides to form the corresponding carcinogenic parent alkaloid. Toxicol Lett 2005;155:411-20. View abstract.

WHO working group. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Environmental Health Criteria, 80. WHO: Geneva, 1988.

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