If the benefits of herbal medicine are recognized, care must be taken not to mix these products with certain drugs. Interactions are possible, and can be dangerous.
Herbal medicine has been recognized since 1986 as a separate medicine by the Ministry of Health. It allows to cure by plants and its effectiveness has been recognized by several studies. However, we must be attentive to the possible interactions between a "classical" treatment, that is to say based on chemical components, and herbal medicine.
A review published in the British Pharmacological Society Journal attests to the existence of several interactions that can be dangerous for patients.
Consequences that can be dangerous
The researchers collected data from several reports or studies done on the subject. Most of those involved in these interactions were between the ages of 50 and 70 years old. For some, treatment with herbal medicine has interacted with drugs prescribed for a transplant, kidney for example.
The side effects of these drug mixtures have led to life-threatening situations, hospitalizations and death in some cases.
Danger with anti-cholesterol and anticoagulant
The researchers found side effects, especially in patients who took warfarin, an anticoagulant drug, alkylating agents in cancer, cyclosporine for kidney transplants, or statins, cholesterol lowering drugs.
When combined with herbal products such as flaxseed, sage, cranberry, St. John's wort, goji berry, green tea or chamomile, the effectiveness of treatments is not guaranteed, and especially the patient can suffer significant side effects.
For example, a patient treated for cardiovascular complications, was taking amlodipine and simvastatin, and complained of leg pain and cramps. These pains were related to the ingestion of green tea.
Get to know the interactions better
For the researchers, it is necessary to push further the study of interactions between herbal products and drugs to better understand the mechanisms that lead to these side effects.
It is therefore absolutely necessary to always inform your doctor of the phytotherapy products you take when you are undergoing treatment.