Herbal remedies and side effects

Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to promote health and wellbeing. Because plants and herbs are natural, we often think that they are harmless, without side effects, interactions or contraindications. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, just think about the fact that in nature there are p
lenty of poisonous plants.

Every herbal remedy has compounds that can cause side effects, if not taken correctly, or interact with certain medications. Some of them can also be contraindicated alongside certain conditions or in certain cases. For instance, many herbs should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding, or are not indicated for children or elderly people.

Here are a few examples:

  • Herbs like Gentian, Gingko, Wormwood, and Mugwort can upset the gastrointestinal system if not taken correctly.
  • Liquorice is well known for its hypertensive action (can raise blood pressure)
  • Stimulating herbs can cause restlessness, palpitations, and insomnia when not taken correctly.
  • Many herbs can interact with certain medications, for instance, they might have the same effect and result in the person being overly medicated, or ceratin remedies might interfere with some drugs absorption.
  • Many herbal remedies can also interfere with contraceptive pills and implants.

Some very commonly used herbal remedies such as St. John’s Wort, Echinacea, Turmeric, Gingko, and Milk Thistle interact with several medications.

I recommend contacting a qualified herbalist to get the best suited herbal remedies for you without the risk of side effects. Always remember to bring with you a list of your medications (including contraception), and to disclose any past or present conditions when consulting with your herbalist