Squill (Scillae bulbus)

Published August 21, 1985; Revised March 2, 1989.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Scillae bulbus, squill, sea onion.

Composition of Drug

Squill consists of the sliced, dried, fleshy middle scales of the onion of the white variety of Urginea maritima (L.) Baker [Fam. Liliaceae], harvested at flowering season, as well as their preparations in effective dosage.

Squill contains glycosides of the bufadienolide type. Main glycosides are scillaren A and proscillaridin A, flavonoids and anthocyanins.


Milder cases of heart insufficiency, also for diminished kidney capacity.


Therapy with digitalis glycosides, potassium deficiency.

Side Effects

Nausea, vomiting, stomach disorders, diarrhea, irregular pulse.

Interactions with Other Drugs

Increase of effectiveness and thus also of side effects by simultaneous administration of quinidine, calcium, saluretics, laxatives and extended therapy with glucocorticoids.


Unless otherwise prescribed:

Average daily dosage:

0.1 - 0.5 g of standardized sea onion; powder; equivalent preparations. Mode of Administration Comminuted drug and other galenical preparations for internal use.


Positively inotropic on myocardial work capacity
Negatively chronotropic
"Economizing" heart action
Lowering increased, left ventricular diastolic pressure and pathologically elevated venous pressure.