A new study performed at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has found that the popular herb St. John’s wort, usually taken to help alleviate depression, can have negative interactions with several types of prescription drugs, potentially leading to dangerous side effects.
This study sheds light on the fact that while natural therapies are indeed natural, they still need to be used with knowledge about how they work with individual body chemistry, and interact with other things that we put into our bodies – just because something is natural does not mean it is not potent.
For their study, Wake Forest researchers analyzed data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey between 1993 and 2010. They found that in approximately 28 percent of cases, St. John’s wort was used in combination with other medications in ways that could be potentially damaging. The researchers also state that many more such cases may occur, as some individuals do not tell their doctors when they take herbal supplements.
Specifically, the researchers found that St. John’s wort could make some forms of medications, including chemotherapy drugs, birth control pills, blood pressure drugs and blood thinners, less effective, possibly to the point where they would not work at all.
Dr. Sarah Taylor, the lead author of the study, states that this could lead to heart disease, serotonin syndrome or unplanned pregnancy (depending on the medication in question) – if the prescribed medications failed.
It is for reasons such as this that it is always a wise idea to consult a natural health professional before starting a health regimen with any natural treatment, especially concentrated herbal supplements.
Even if you are not taking any medications, starting on an herbal treatment path with no knowledge of how it may affect your body can lead to complications. Likewise, if you are taking any medications, it is important to tell your doctor about the natural therapies you are using.
We are not saying that natural treatments are to be avoided – not by a long shot. Nature provides us with a bounty of plants with time-tested medicinal benefits, which are often much safer than the chemical compounds in pharmaceuticals. However, you have to be as informed as you can – it is your health, after all.
Doing extensive individual research, and consulting with professionals who have studied the therapy in question, is essential to both receiving the maximum benefit from any treatment plan, and ensuring your safety.
-The Alternative Daily