San Diego Fitness Psychology – It’s “Herbal/Prescription Awareness Month” during the month of July so, here’s a quick test.
by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Do you take any of the following herbal supplements?:
• Black Cohosh for alleviating menopausal conditions, painful menstruation
• Dong quai to lessen menopausal conditions and improve menstrual ailments
• Echinacea to strengthen the body’s immune system and prevent colds and flu
• Evening Primrose Oil to reduce symptoms of arthritis, PMS, and hyperactivity
• Feverfew to alleviate migraine headaches and menstrual cramps
• Garlic for cardiovascular conditions, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis
• Ginger for cardiovascular conditions and arthritic ailments
• Ginkgo for poor circulation and memory
• Ginseng to increase overall body tone and elevating energy levels
• Goldenseal for healing, antiseptic and germ-stopping especially with colds/flu
• Hawthorne for several heart-related conditions
• Kava-kava for relaxation, anxiety reduction, and general calming
• Licorice for spleen, liver and kidney ailments, most widely used for upper espiratory symptoms
• Milk Thistle is often used for cirrhosis, hepatitis, necroses
• Pycnogenol aids in preventing deseased blood vessels associated with varicose veins, peripheral hemorrhage, diabetic retinopathy and hypertension
• Saw Palmetto for enlarged prostate
• St. John’s Wart for mild to moderate depression
• Valerian for insomnia and anxiety reduction
Well, according to a recent study at Harvard University, the use of herbal supplements has increased a whopping 50% in recent years. Include the following popular supplements and your home pharmacy is overflowing:
• CoQ-10 or Ubiquinol
• Amino Acids
• Krill or Fish oils/Omega fatty acids
• Shark cartilage
The problem is that many people saying yes to several or more of the above common herbal supplements don’t realize that taking alternative medicines in conjunction with Big Pharma’s prescriptions can be a dangerous, if not deadly, practice.
I want to be sure each of you is aware of potentially negative interactions that can result from mixing the trendy and growing list of herbal remedies with prescription medicines.
With some databases reporting that nearly 50% of Americans using at least one prescription drug per month, and over 1.9 billion different kinds of medicines are ordered or provided in doctor’s office visits per year, excluding hospital outpatient department or emergency room visits, that’s a lot of medicine out there.
In conjunction with reports that about 40% of Americans take one or more herbal supplements, and the Journal of American Medical Association estimating that 40% of consumers do not inform their doctor or nurse practitioner that they are using such products, you can face a very unhealthy situation unless you are properly informed.
It seems that herbal remedies can treat every illness from simple headache to prostate ailment, libido issues, emotional distress and memory deficits. While these over-the-counter supplements may have an positive impact on these difficulties and others, they should be treated with the same seriousness as prescription medicines.
For example, did you know that Black Cohosh, primarily used to help alleviate menopausal symptoms interacts with lipid lowering drugs, hormone replacement therapies and estrogens?
• Did you know that ginkgo may interact with aspirin, anticonvulsants, diuretics, antidepressants and blood thinners?
• Did you know that Echinacea may interact with certain chemotherapy agents?
• Did you know that Saw Palmetto may interact with birth control medication, estrogens, and anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications?
• Did you know that fish oils may interact with birth control pills, medication for hypertension, Xenical, Alli, and some anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications?
• Did you know that Co-Q10 may interact with chemotherapy medications, anti-hypertensive medication and blood thinner medications?
Commonly taken D3, Resveratrol, Krill oil, Ubiquinol, saw palmetto, and Echinacea may seem harmless and safe. For the most part, taken without medications known to create potential harmful interactions, they are considered safe for many adults to take as recommended. Outside of those parameters, and you are about to experiment with your life.