Making a good choice to prevent drug-herb interactions

Making a good choice to prevent drug-herb interactions

by Sonia Masocco, LDT, C.Ay.P., CAH
herbsIt is very common nowadays to enhance daily nutrition with the use of natural supplements, herbal products and vitamins. Catalogues, health food stores, supermarkets and retail chains have all profited from our desire to enhance health and well-being, providing little to no information as to how these may interfere with one’s prescription medication or specific conditions, relying on fine-print-side-labeling which may read “This product is not FDA approved or intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease” or “Contact your healthcare provider before use if you are taking any prescription medication’. But really, how many people read the fine print and how many people even have a healthcare provider they can rely on or contact? Some issues that can occur when combing drugs and herbs. Let’s take the case of common situations for drug-herb interactions.

Drug action is intensified by similar effects of herbs. This can be a problematic, if not even catastrophic, for example, hypoglycemic drugs and hypoglycemic herbs may lower blood sugar too far now provoking hypoglycemic events. Also, blood-vitalizing herbs used in conjunction with blood-thinning herbs and drugs may prevent adequate clotting, which can also be dangerous. When drug therapy is already addressing a therapeutic goal, avoid adding herbal therapy unless supervised by a physician, a pharmacist or a seasoned herbalist.

Desired drug effect is counteracted by herb effect. In autoimmune disorders, for example, immune-enhancing herbs may counteract immunosuppressive drugs, such as transplant rejection reaction drugs.

Herbs can result in elevating negative side effects of drugs as an unintentional condition. Potassium is decreased when using cardiac drugs, resulting in adverse cardiac condition. This affects mainly laxative and diuretic herbs are often given together for weight loss programs and both may reduce potassium in the system. So while using cardiac drugs, avoid laxative and diuretic-acting herbs, such as triphala, fennel and licorice and to compensate for mild diuretic or laxative treatments, consume high potassium foods such as cantaloupe or bananas to bring the body back to a balance state.

Knowledge is your best tool for using herbs and medication to maintain or restore your body to its healthy state. So many popular herbs have serious to severe drug interactions and contraindications that it is critical to read and investigate before ingesting capsules, drinking the tea or tincture.

There is so much more not covered in this short article. For more information concerning the herbs and supplements you are taking, talk with your healthcare provider and visit the NIH, National Institute of Health or Medline on the web. Classes in herbalism and holistic health bring you a deeper understanding of these long life benefits.

About Sonia Masocco

Sonia MassoccoSonia Masocco is a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, (NAMA), the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) as well as a member of the American Herbalist Guild and the Association of Ayurvedic Practitioners of North America. She teaches herbology worldwide and at the University of New Mexico and maintains a private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ms. Masocco has been involved in complementary and alternative health since 1997.


Join us for a Free Holistic Health Event

Make a wise choice and learn what benefits and risks are possible when combining therapies and remedies for maintaining wellness and health. Our session will offer some guidelines and cautions but with any medical or health problems knowledge and working with your healthcare providers ensures you have wellness at the core.

When: Thursday, September 4, 2014 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Where: UNMCE South Building
Instructor: Sonia Masocco, LDT, C.AY, CAH


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