Most of us are under the impression that herbal remedies are quite safe. We prefer them because they cause little or no side effects, right?
If however, you have been forced to take high blood pressure medications, cholesterol medications, blood thinning medications or other types of medications, the game plan may have changed.
Some common, innocent herbs can interact with your medications causing serious side effects, even death.
That’s why in today’s feature article I’m going to tell you about seven common herbs and their potential harmful interaction with the medications you’re using.
I love garlic. We’ve recommended its use over and over again on Blue Heron Health News. It’s probably the most powerful herb to lower blood pressure, eliminate blood clots and many other things.
BUT if you’ve been prescribed blood thinning drugs such as Warfarin, garlic’s blood thinning effects can increase risk of bleeding. Especially if taken in big doses.
This doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid garlic. Ask your doctor how much is safe for you to use depending on the dose of medications you’re taking.
Many people swear by this herb and the amazing effects to fight off flu and boost the immune system. I know people who load up on Echinacea as soon as they feel the first symptoms of cold and never get sick.
However, Echinacea can increase the risk of liver damage if you’re taking cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins, niacin, and fibrates.
St. John’s Wort
This is a powerful plant that’s extremely effective to boost mood and fight of depression and anxiety. It’s widely used in the winter time by people living in the northern part of the world when the daylight is very limited.
As powerful as it is, St. John’s Wort interferes with almost all prescription drugs. It’s especially damaging at limiting the efficacy of statins, beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers. If your doctor is not aware of this, he/she may think the drugs are just not working and boost up your dose (causing even more severe side effects).
Another extremely effective herb to improve almost ALL health issues, green tea lowers high blood pressure, balances cholesterol levels, improves diabetes and boosts stamina.
Green Tea, however, also includes vitamin K, which may also counteract the effectiveness of warfarin.
Ginseng is a powerful herb that boosts the immune system, balances cholesterol levels and lowers blood pressure. Red Ginseng is considered even more powerful than White Ginseng.
It does, however, diminish the effect of warfarin. Since it’s so powerful, please make sure you always follow the directions on the package and don’t overuse it. Overuse can actually raise blood pressure.
Unlike most fruit juice, grapefruit juice can have a somewhat ‘negative calorie’ effect. So it’s a powerful tool to lose weight. It’s also been proven to improve heart health, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, plus many other health benefits.
However, grapefruit juice also interferes with a specific enzyme that’s needed to properly absorb medications such as statins and calcium-channel blockers. As little as one glass of grapefruit juice doubles the amount of calcium-channel blockers in the blood stream due to the nature of its not being absorbed and used. This causes the medication to build up in your body causing series of side effects.
Hawthorn berries have been proven to improve high blood pressure and overall heart health. The leaves and flowers are also used to treat heart failure.
Like so many other herbs mentioned before, their effectiveness is also the weakness when interacting with traditional medications. In this case, consult your doctor if you’re using any kind of heart-failure medications before using hawthorn.
So What Can You Do?
These are just seven examples of common powerful herbs and how they can interfere with prescription medications. Most of the time a small amount won’t hurt, but always consult your doctor before taking any type of herb capsules in association with traditional medications.
In my opinion, the real lesson to take from this is how damaging traditional medications really are.
Just think about it. If your medications are preventing you from using natural, healthy ingredients that will actually improve your health without side effects, how beneficial are they really?
The good news is that many natural approaches cause no risk even if you use them while on medications. An example of this is our blood pressure exercises. Lots of people have used these exercises to get of medications with the approval of their doctor.Learn more about our blood pressure exercises here…