Herbal and Prescription Medications Can Conflict
Many people seem to first learn about herbs from a friend or family member. Or they read something online or in a magazine, and they seem to think herbs must be miracle medicines. So they procede to start taking as many as they can, for anything they can think of.
The problem though, is that while many herbs can help with multiple problems at the same time, they are not a cure all. You can’t take one herb for just anything, and there are certain herbs you shouldn’t take unless they’re needed. There are also many situations in which the actions of the herbs can be in conflict, or cause complications with, prescription medications your doctor may put you on.
That’s why it’s important to let you doctor know if you’re taking herbal medicines for any reason. And if you doctor does not understand the effects of the herbs you’re taking, you may need to explain it to him or her so they’ll better understand the potential interactions of your herbs and the medicines they want to give you prescriptions for.
An excellent example of two things that shouldn’t be mixed are Ginseng and Caffeine. Now, this might seem like a simple case of limiting your coffee or soda intake if you’re taking a Ginseng herbal supplement, and you’re right. But it also comes into play if your doctor prescribes you certain allergy or diet medications too. These can interact badly with the Ginseng, because of the components and capabilities of each medicine.
Another example is taking Golden Seal herbs while also taking insulin. Golden Seal is a natural source of insulin, so if you take it while also taking insulin injections, you could accidently overdose yourself without realizing it.
Yet another example of herbal and prescription medications that could cause problems when used simultaneously, is to take Kelp while also taking a prescription diuretic or water pill. A diuretic is an medication that causes your body to release more urine, and Kelp is a natural diuretic on its own. So taking Kelp while also taking a prescription diuretic could cause you to become dehydrated, or have other related dangerous side effects and complications.
Some herbal and prescription medication combinations taken at the same time can be dangerous, while others end up just working against each other. When you have a chest cough for instance, your doctor will often prescribe coughing medications that are designed to supress your coughing. Some herbs used for chest colds however, work as expectorants – which means they purposely try to help your body cough up the phlegm and mucus that’s in your lungs so that you can heal faster.
So before you start using herbs for medicating yourself, be sure to learn as much as you can about what the herbs actually do, and how that might conflict with anything else you may need to take under doctors orders.
Statements made in this article may not be approved by the FDA, and should not be taken as professional medical advice.