The Possible Dangers of Herbal Medicines

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Sometimes the natural route is the way to go. Other times, it can be too much of a good thing. According to a 2007 TIME Magazine article called Fit Nation, over the last 10 years, the number of people who started using herbal supplements or remedies increased by 83%. Many people think that anything thats natural should be good for you. Maybe it will even help them feel better. That may be true. Then again, it may not.

The biggest mistake that people make regarding herbal supplements is not telling their doctors what and how much they are taking. Many herbal supplements are intended to do the same thing as some prescription medications, albeit on a much smaller scale. For example, St. Johns Wort has long been known for aiding mild depression. But if a person is already on an antidepressant, the St. Johns Wort could be harmful. Herbal supplements could interact with prescription medications, or even nullify them. If a person is taking heart medication, and they take the wrong herbal remedy, it could be life-threatening!

Always, always tell your doctor if you are taking any kind of medication or supplement. It doesnt matter if it is a vitamin, a mineral, a prescription or an herbal treatment, the doctor must know.

People used to assume that if they take a vitamin its good for them. If some is good, then more is better, right? Not necessarily. The same goes with herbal supplements. You can take too much. For example, too much vitamin A can increase your risk of fracturing your bones.

What do you do when you have a cold? Take vitamin C, right? What does your mom always say? Drink your orange juice. Vitamin C indeed has many wonderful properties, but too much can cause problems with your stomach like gas, nausea, even vomiting and diarrhea. Vitamin C is processed in the kidneys, so a ton of vitamin C makes your kidneys work harder than they need to.

In recent years ginkgo biloba has made headlines for its ability to slightly increase mental alertness. Thats lovely if you dont have any other medical conditions that can be worsened by ginkgo biloba such as diabetes.

You can even overdose on gingko biloba. If you take too much, you could experience anything from headache and nausea to seizures.

The best advice is everything in moderation. But first, please check with your doctor before you take any kind of herbal remedy or supplement, especially if you have any existing medical conditions, or already take daily medications.

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