Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Polyherbacy Prompts Need For Physician’s Advice

25.07.2003


Two University of Iowa Health Care physicians are calling attention to the issue of polyherbacy, the excessive or inappropriate ingestion of herbs for the treatment or prevention of disease, especially in older patients.


Jose Ness, M.D., UI assistant professor (clinical) of internal medicine, and Nicole Nisly, M.D., associate professor (clinical) of internal medicine and director of the UI Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Clinic



Jose Ness, M.D., UI assistant professor (clinical) of internal medicine, and Nicole Nisly, M.D., associate professor (clinical) of internal medicine and director of the UI Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Clinic, published a letter on polyherbacy in the May issue of the Journal of Gerontology.

The physicians said that oftentimes patients take herbal supplements in conjunction with their regular medicine regimen. However, combining conventional medications with herbal supplements without first talking to your physician can lead to possible adverse interactions with medication or illness.


Prior to taking an herbal supplement, a patient should have established a treatment goal, researched reliable sources for herbal information and consulted with their physician or pharmacist about safety and efficacy of the herbs.

"Patients should always discuss with their primary physician any medication, herbal or conventional, they’re taking," Ness said. "Physicians can then find out about possible side effects and help prevent unexpected complications."

Patients should also talk to their physician or pharmacist about conventional treatment options that are available to ensure the proper and best treatment is given, Nisly said.

"A patient is more likely to begin taking herbal supplements if they do not see desired results from more conventional methods," Nisly said.

Herbal supplements should not be used by children or anyone who is pregnant, lactating or receiving chemotherapy, HIV treatment, transplant medications or anticoagulants, due to increased risk of adverse side effects.

Commonly used herbs include ginseng, ginkgo biloba, garlic, St. Johns Wort, aloe and Echinacea. Sea algae and licorice are commonly found in multi-ingredient supplements.

Possible side effects can include headache, abdominal pain, fatigue and nausea. More serious side effects can include excessive bleeding or interaction with other drugs, resulting in excessive or diminished drug function, Nisly said.

Each herb can come in several forms, each different enough to cause differing side effects. "It is important to remember that just as with other medications, it is possible to experience an allergic reaction to an herbal supplement," Ness said.

While serious herbal complications are not common, Ness noted, caution is a must. The sicker a patient is, the more likely he or she is to experience such adverse reactions.

Ness added that there is a lack of standardization in herbal manufacturing, which is not approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Some supplements are produced with quality control standards similar to drug production, but some are not. Concerns with misidentified herbs and contaminants need to be kept in mind by both consumers and health care professionals.

Reading bottle labels is a valuable resource for learning about a product. The more information a label provides about dosage, ingredients, company reputation and contact info, the better. Patients should look for single-herb supplements known for safety and efficacy from reliable manufacturers.

Doctors need to be informed about herbal uses, interactions and side effects, so they are best able to counsel patients on safe herbal use.

"Doctors need to remember to listen with an open mind when patients talk about their preferred method of treatment, or the patient might withhold information such as herbal use," Ness said.

Ness and Nisly agree that the most important thing to remember when beginning any medication is to talk honestly and openly with your primary physician, in order to ensure the best care and safest use possible.

Becky Soglin | University of Iowa
Further information:
http://www.uihealthcare.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>