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Herbal Medicine Safety and Interactions

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While most herbs have been used successfully for thousands of years, prescription drugs haven’t and scientific research into the interactions between the 2 is limited. Herbs are being added to foods, drinks and we think herbs are natural but they have activity in the body, especially concentrated forms of herbs known as standardized extracts.

Here are a few examples:

Heart medications such as Digoxin and diuretics can lower potassium also Licorice can lower potassium as well as herbs that act as diuretics such as dandelion.

Ephedra can increase blood pressure.

Goldenseal contains hydrastine which constricts blood vessels so caution with beta blockers.

Guarana, contains caffeine and many OTC products do as well such as Excedrin.

Yohimbe can raise blood pressure.

Kola nut is high in caffeine.

Brewer’s yeast and St. John’s Wort can interact with many medications as they both have MAO inhibitor properties.

Ginko Biloba, Garlic, and Ginseng can increase bleeding so caution with Coumadin.

Guar Gum prevents absorption of medications

Bitter Melon and Siberian Ginseng can lower glucose levels so caution with Diabetic medications.

Kava Kava will enhance alcohol and other sedatives so do not mix.

Make sure you consult with a health care practitioner knowledgeable in Herb/Drug interaction.

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