Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Herbs: Risks

Herbal remedies provide healthy alternatives for patients disillusioned or disaffected by traditional pharmaceuticals. They are relatively safe and carry a far lower rate of side effects and complications. In spite of this, herbal remedies have a factor of risk and any patient using them should fully inform themselves of possible complications. These differ from herb to herb.

The primary risk of any herbal remedy is the possibility that it will not work. Herbal medicine is best applied to minor or chronic conditions. Headaches, joint problems, menstrual cramps, blood pressure, digestive issues, and other recurring problems can be aided with herbal regimens. People with serious medical conditions should consult a doctor and consider turning to mainstream medicine. Herbal medicine can help patients cope with discomfort resulting from illness or promote the body's ability to heal, but a doctor should be consulted as to any possible complication or conflict with an ongoing treatment. Too often unfounded faith is placed in the abilities of herbal medicines with tragic results. Be wary of miracle cures and quick answers to serious conditions. Diseases require long term treatment that herbal medicine cannot duplicate.

Herbal medicines are effective in relieving discomfort and helping your system cope with chronic conditions, but many herbal medications cannot be used in the long term. While classic folk remedies like garlic are easy to incorporate into your regular diet and show no signs of side effects, other roots and concentrated remedies overload your system after prolonged use. The chemicals that initially increase your deficiencies become excessive. Liver damage is a common and serious risk of long term herbal use. Patients should pay attention to their dosage cycles to avoid serious complications.

Patients should also be conscious of mixing herbal remedies with prescription drugs. If the effects of a particular herb are mixed with a drug that has similar effects, the patient risks damaging his or her health. For instance, some herbal remedies relieve headaches and improve circulation by thinning the blood. These are harmless and effective by themselves, but when combined with prescription blood thinners they can cause serious problems for the patient.

Patients should educate themselves as to any possible side effect of an herbal remedy. Herbal medicines may originate from natural sources but they must be treated and respected just as much as any medication. Responsible use can lead to positive results without complications. If a patient uses them erratically and without knowledge, then there can be a risk of serious complications.