A lot pf people are first introduced to herbal remedies by friends or family members, or they read about them online or in a magazine and assume that herbs must be miracle medicines. Because of this, they often proceed to start taking as many as they can, for any ailment they can think of.
The problem, however, is that while many herbal products can help with multiple problems simultaneously, they are not a cure all. You can’t take one natural remedy for just anything and there are certain herbs you shouldn’t take unless they are needed. There are also many situations in which the actions of the herbs can be in conflict, or cause complications with medications your doctor has prescribed .
This is why it’s important to inform your doctor if you are taking herbal medicines for any reason. If your doctor doesn’t understand the effects of the herbs you’re taking, you may need to explain it to him or her so they can have a better understanding of the potential interactions of your herbal remedies and the medicines they want to prescribe for you.
An excellent example of two items that should not be combined are Caffeine and Ginseng. 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 gives you a prescription for certain allergy or diet medications too. These can interact negatively with 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 accidentally overdose without even realizing it.
Yet another example of herbal and prescription medications that could cause problems when used together is taking Kelp while also taking a prescription diuretic or water pill. A diuretic is a medication that causes your body to release more urine and Kelp is a natural diuretic on its own. Taking Kelp while also taking a prescription diuretic could cause you to become dehydrated, or have other related dangerous side effects and complications.
Taking some herbal formulas and prescriptions at the same time may be dangerous, as in many cases these medications have an opposite effect. When you have a chest cough, for instance, your doctor will often prescribe cough medications that are designed to suppress your cough. Certain 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.