It is always a good idea to talk with a doctor or other healthcare professional before taking a supplement especially if you are a part of a certain population group. Under certain circumstances dietary supplements aren’t risk-free. You should talk with your doctor or pharmacist before purchasing or taking any supplement if you are pregnant, nursing a baby or have a chronic medical condition such as diabetes, hypertension or heart disease. You may also want to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking dietary supplements just for your own peace of mind even though most vitamin and mineral supplements are widely used and generally considered safe. It is always important to discuss taking a dietary supplement in place of your drugs or in combination with any drugs you may be taking. The active ingredients in many supplements can have strong biological effects and all users won’t have assured safety. For those with certain health conditions, taking these products can place you at risk.
If you take a combination of supplements or if you use them along with medications whether they are prescription or over-the-counter drugs you could have adverse effects under certain circumstances. You should always condition advisories about these products whether you are taking the supplements alone or in combination with others. An example is Coumadin (a prescription), ginkgo biloba (an herbal supplement), aspirin (an over-the-counter drug) and vitamin E (a supplement) can all thin the blood and taking any of these at the same time can increase your risk of internal bleeding.
You should always tell your doctor about all vitamins, minerals, herbals or any other supplements you are taking especially if you plan on having an elective surgery. At least two to three weeks before your procedure you may be asked to stop taking these drugs to avoid any potentially dangerous supplements or drug interactions like changes in heart rate, blood pressure and increased bleeding which can have an adverse outcome for your surgery.
If you are pregnant or nursing you should not take the following herbs: Alkanet, Aloe, Angelica, Anise Star, Arnica, Ashwaganda, Barley Grass, Barberry, Basil, Bitter Melon, Black Cohosh, Bladderwrack, Blessed Thistle, Blood Root, Blue Cohosh, Blue Flag, Blue Veryain, Borage, Buckthorn, California Poppy, Cascara Sagrada, Catnip, Celandine, Celery, Chervil, Cinnamon, Club Moss, Comfrey, Coltsfoot, Cubeb, Dong Quai, Elecampane, Ephedra, False Unicorn, Fenugreek, Feverfew, Ginger, Golden Seal, Gravel, Guarana, Gymnema, Horehound, Horsetail, Hyssop, Juniper, Lemongrass, Licorice, Lobelia, Loyage, Lungwort, Mace, Motherwort, Mugwort, Muira Puama, Myrrh, Neem, Oregon Grape, Osha, Parsley, Pennyroyal, Pleurisy, Prickly Ash, Red Clover, Rhodiola, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Sassafras, Sarsaparilla, Senna, Shepherds Purse, Spikenard, Turkey Rhubarb, Turmeric, Uya Ursi, Vitex, Watercress, White Sage, Wormwood and Yarrow.
For those with any kidney, liver or renal issues you shouldn’t take the following herbs: Cubeb, Essiac, Horsetail, Hydrangea, Juniper Berries, Kava Kava, Parsley Root, Pennyroyal, Sheep Sorrel, Shepherds Purse, Suma, Sumac, Uva Ursi, Yellowdock and Yohimbe.
If you are taking medications to thin your blood then you should avoid the following herbs: Alfalfa, Angelica, Cramp Bark, Cubeb, Dong Quai, Ginkgo, Meadowsweet, Red Clover, Sarsaparilla and Yohimbe.
If you have stomach, digestion or liver issues you should use the following herbs because they could cause gastrointestinal upset: Black Haw, Blue Flag, Chaparral, Club Moss, Cramp Bark, Devils Claw, Eucalyptus, Elecampane, Essiac, Gentian, Ginger, Licorice, Lobelia, Parsley Root, Pleurisy, Pygeum, Solomon’s Seal, Tribulus, Turmeric and Yohimbe.
The following herbs should be taken for long periods of time: Bilberry Leaf, Black Walnut, Blessed thistle, Borage, Cascara Sagrada, Comfrey, Coltsfoot, Chaparral, Elecampane, Ephedra, Flax, Horsetail, Gentian, Goldenseal, Guarana, Juniper berries, Licorice, Lobelia, Lungwort, Mullein, Nettle Root, Rhubarb, Sage, Sassafras, Sarsaparilla, Senna, Sheep Sorrel, Wild Cherry, Wormwood, Uya Ursi and Yohimbe.
When you take the following herbs you should only do so under the supervision of a qualified expert: Calamus, Horse Chestnut, Lobelia, Licorice, Mandrake, Poke and Tonka.
If you have abdominal pain or diarrhea you should discontinue the use of the following herbs: Aloe, Buckthorn, Cascara Sagrada, Senna, Turkey Rhubarb and Yohimbe. You should also talk with your doctor or medical practitioner before taking these herbs if you are pregnant, nursing or taking any medications for any medical condition. You should also not use these beyond their recommended dose or for long periods of time.
Angelica, Celery Seed, Orange Peel, Rue and St. Johns Wort may cause photo toxicity in some individuals who take them at high dosages. If you are using any of these internally you should avoid long exposure to the sun.
For Ephedra, St. Johns Wort and Yohimbe you need to talk to a health practitioner if you are going to take them while pregnant, nursing or if you suffer from high blood pressure, heart or thyroid disease, diabetes, difficulty urinating because of prostate enlargement or if you are taking prescription drugs especially an MAO inhibitor. You should stop using these herbs if you experience nervousness, tremors, and sleeplessness, loss of appetite or nausea. Be sure to keep them out of reach of children and don’t exceed the recommended dose.
For Boldo and Chaparral you should talk to a doctor if you have or may have kidney or liver disease. If you experience nausea, fever, fatigue or jaundice seen with dark urine or yellow discoloration of the eyes you should stop taking these herbs.
The food and drug administration hasn’t evaluated all the statements made by most colon cleanse product companies. The FDA also doesn’t actively evaluate and test herbs. You shouldn’t use herbs for the purpose of diagnosing, treating, curing or preventing any illness or disease. Talk with your doctor if you need diagnosis or treatment. Always watch for allergic reactions when taking herbs and only take them per instructions.
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