I agree with talking to your doctor, or at least your pharmacist, to make sure your herbal supplements do not conflict with, reduce the efficiacy of, or even worse, increase the action of any prescriptions.
Also, don't assume that an herbal/natural product is better than a prescription. I take generic lovastatin for high cholesterol. My sister-in-law takes Red Yeast Rice instead of the prescription. My RX has been around for 30-40 years with no major side effects. I get periodic blood tests to check my liver - I'm also on other RXs for different health issues.
The Red Yeast Rices is not regulated by the FDA or any other oversight organization. Studies have shown that some brands tested have the prescription ingredient that is the same as lovastatin. However, the amounts found in various brands (and in different batches of the same brands) are different - some have a lot of this ingredient, some have hardly any.
Imagine what would happen if someone were taking both the prescription statin drug PLUS the Red Yeast Rice - that could cause serious liver damage.
What I find most ironic in this situation with myself & my SIL, is that my prescription is $4/month at Walmart. She pays around $30/month for her "natural" supplement. She is on Medicare and Social Security, and she really can't afford to spend all that money. She would be financially better off getting the prescription. But she doesn't want to because she wants to use the "natural" supplement instead, even though she doesn't know how much, if any, medicine she's getting.
There are also studies that black cohosh is detrimental to breast cancer patients/survivors whose tumors were estrogen-receptor positive. Many women take this to relieve menopause symptoms - a double whammy because many women go into menopause when having chemo for breast cancer. Black Cohosh and some phyto-estrogen products, like soy, reduce the efficacy of the medication given to ER-positive patients (Tamoxifen).
Bottom line - be very careful if you have any health issues, and don't believe everything you hear at the health food store (they want to sell you their products), or read on the internet - get your information from a reliable source, not the website that is selling the products.
- 5/27/2011 8:43:24 PM