Author and Copyrights: Dr Mariappa Babu Baskar @ World Hospital Directory
Being Prudent With the Use of Herbal Medicines
Herbal medicines could be advantageous in terms of price, availability and efficacy, but without learning how to use them appropriately, these natural wonders could do more harm than good.
Natural medicine, herbal medicine
Herbal medicines have become a relatively cheaper alternative to some trusted pharmaceutically-made medicines. Although most people believe that using herbal medicines are safer or cause fewer side effects, caution is still advised in the use of these therapeutic herbs.
Here is a list of points to consider when you plan to utilize herbal remedies:
- First and foremost, consultation with your doctor, herbalist or any trained medical professional is always advised before any treatment..
- Some herbal products or supplements could pose a danger if you have certain health problems such as high blood pressure, epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, blood clotting disorders, glaucoma; heart, thyroid and prostate diseases.
- For persons about to undergo surgeries, it is advisable to tell your doctor any herbal supplements you have taken prior to surgery. They might have to be withheld for a certain period of time after your surgery if your surgeon states that they could impede the success of your surgery or recuperation.
- Only use the part of the plant advocated, and use it in the correct route of administration. If it is meant to be applied only on the skin, do not use it as a gargle or tea.
- Follow the recommended dose. Taking a larger dose does not necessarily guarantee you will increase the benefits from the herbs. It could do more harm than good, as with the herb valerian which could induce over sedation if taken in large quantities. There are also different doses for persons of varied ages and conditions, so your doctorís advice should be followed.
- Some herbs affect the pharmacokinetics of drugs. They could reduce the efficacy of other pharmaceutical drugs. An example of this is St. Johnís Wort which decreases the absorption of certain medicines needed for their therapeutic level. Ask your doctor to check the compatibility of your herbal supplements with your other medicines.
- Most herbal medicines are still unregulated when it comes to the manufacturing and labeling process. They might have varied dosages and varied preparations, as well as other additives. Thankfully, some companies already follow a standardized system of the preparation of the active herbal ingredients.
- Only use the herbal medicines for the time period indicated by your doctor.
- Also check if the diet your doctor prescribes you to follow does not clash with your drug prescriptions. A low-sodium diet should not be carried out if a person is prescribed with glucosamine, which contains sodium.
- Keep in mind that the therapeutic benefits of herbal medicines are usually gained slower compared to pharmaceutical ones.
- Some herbal medicines and their dosages are not suitable for pregnant women. They may not be well tolerated by the baby, thus, pregnant women should talk to their OB-GYN before taking any herbal supplements.
- It is also good to read some related literature regarding your supplementsí side effects or allergic reactions. Some herbs such as St. Johnís wort and kava kava have been linked to serious adverse side effects such as allergic reactions and liver toxicity.
If used with discretion and common sense, herbal products have the potential to even equal or surmount the success of pharmaceutical products.