Six Potential Problems With Herbs

Six Potential Problems With Herbs

Many people have used herbal remedies to great effect and as a result are leading healthier, happier lives. Some people rave about echinacea for its immune system building abilities and ginseng for libido and to strengthen the nervous system. Sales of herbal remedies and treatments have increased massively over the years, now in its billions, sales are still rocketing. So why are people buying? Do they assume natural is best? Yet a deeper look at certain herbs can show the potential problems you should know about.

1) Using A Herb Without Knowing What Medications It Affects.

Bleeding may result with warfarin when ginko bilbao or chamomile is taken. Caution should be taken when mixing herbs and conventional medications. Both are therapeutic in one dose and toxic in another.

2) Using Herbs As An Answer To Every Ailment

If you are tired and need an energy boost it may be tempting to turn to a herbal remedy. In small doses it can be effective. If used long term or in conjunction with conventional medication as we have seen can be detrimental. Fatigue, dehydration and ‘feeling down’ may need more than just a quick herb fix. Any long term conditions should be assessed as Diabetes, Anemia and Chronic Fatigue Symptoms can go undiagnosed for many months.

3) Drinking Energy Or Alternative Caffeine Drinks Instead Of Tea And Coffee

Red Bull and other high-energy drinks are often sold in health food stores and marketed as an alternative to caffeine beverages. Yet most energy drinks the work on the principle that they contain lots of sugar and even have extra caffeine added in. Scientists have found no evidence yet that these drinks cause health problems like caffeine and pop soda but in large volumes (more than 1 liter) yerba mate, a herbal tea has been linked to a variety of cancers.

4) Using Herbal Remedies As A Laxative

Although herbs can be used for the occasional bout of constipation and to good effective. They can also be problematic if used as a dependent over the period of months or even years. A popular herb is Senna, which should not be used longer than a week without consultation with a doctor. Over-extended use can lead to weakened pelvic floor muscles and even kidney or liver impairment. Additional herbs in this group are rhubarb, aloe, and buckthorn.

5) Using Herbs Before Or After Surgery

As herbs can affect conventional medications quite considerably, any herbs you are taking prior to surgery would need to be disclosed to the consultant.Those that are seen as risky are ginkgo,garlic, ginseng, ginger, glucosamine, chamomile, st.john’s wort, valerian and vitamin E amongst others. Risks include bleeding and heart palpitations.

6) Using Only One Source For Safety And Side Effect Information

You should collect many sources of information for the herbs you are using not just the manufacturer’s website. Look at other health blogs, news sites and scientific research for possible side effects and problems. For example a popular herbal supplement, kava root, has long been used as an effective remedy but in 2002 the Food and Drug Association (FDA) noted that is caused liver damage and even banned ephedra, a Chinese weigh-loss pill after it was linked to hundreds of deaths.

Always ask a doctor before you use herbal remedies with conventional medicine and disclose anything you are taking occasionally even if you think it is irrelevant. Although herbs should be used with caution there is no need to avoid them and as much information should be collected before use.