Hidden Dangers of Herbal Medicines

Experts from Leeds University's School of Pharmacy UK recently warned the threat behind the consumption of herbal medicines. They pointed out that the consumption of herbal medicines can cause serious health problems. It is because most of the herbal medicines which are sold in the market do not provide any security warning such as date of expiry and side effects.

In their study, they surveyed five types of the most popular herbal medicine such as, St John's wort, Asian ginseng, Echinacea, garlic and gingko. According to the researchers, there are still so many consumers who never knew the side effects from use of these herbal medicines.

Take St. John's wort as the example. This herbal medicine has been used o overcome bad mood. This herb was found to reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill. Meanwhile ginkgo, which is said to have the ability to improve blood circulation, increase alertness, and as blood thinners, fact proves that it should not be combined with the other drugs.

Asian ginseng, which is often used to boost the immune system, and Echinacea which is often used to protect your own self from the flu, also has a hidden danger. Garlic, which is used to lower high blood pressure, can be dangerous if it is consumed in large quantities.

The researchers also conducted a survey of 68 herbal products which sold in the market and found 51 of them (75 percent) do not contain information on precautions, drug interactions or side effects. Seventy percent of these products (48 of 68 products) are marketed as a dietary supplement.

Researchers suspect that the small amount of the herbal products that include label information might be caused by the fact that herbal shops are still permitted to continue to sell old stock, without warning, and expiration date.
Professor Theo Raynor, who led the research, says: The best advice for consumers is that they must be careful. Any substance that can affect the body has the potential to damage if it is not used properly, "he said.

Raynor suggest that it is important for consumers to look for herbal medicines that already have a license, or in other words, the drugs that have been approved by the government. "You should tell your doctor if you are taking herbal medicines. This is necessary so you get the best care," he added.

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