Herbs are available in a variety of forms, including fresh, dried, in tablets or capsules, or bottled in liquid form. You can buy them individually or in mixtures formulated for specific conditions. Whatever type of product you choose, the quality of an herbal preparation-be it in capsule, tablet, tea, tincture, bath, compress, poultice, or ointment form-is only as good as the quality of the raw herb from which it was made.

Contrary to popular belief that “natural are safe”, herbal medicines can cause significant toxic effects, drug interaction and even morbidity or mortality when taken without proper guidance, precaution and in improper doses.

World wide there is resurgence of herbal remedies, and we also acknowledge their potential. The purpose of this information is to create awareness amongst clinicians and common man regarding the use of herbal medicines by patients, and the possible complications associated with them.

Drug herb interactions can results in unexpected concentration of therapeutic drug. Several herbal products interfere with immunoassays used for monitoring the concentrations of therapeutic drugs. Therefore, the common belief that anything natural is safe is not correct.

It is imperative that you speak with your primary care practitioner before using any Natural / Herbal / Ayurvedic products. Each person is different, and the way someone reacts to a particular product may be significantly different from another. Many commonly used herbal medicine in their irregular, high doses or with other medications in long term are toxic. Toxic effects of herbal medicines range from allergic reactions to cardiovascular, hepatic, renal, neurological and dermatologic toxic effects.

This review summarizes abnormal test results associated with use of herbal medicine, as well as interactions between modern western medicines and herbal products. There are far too many variations in the conditions of individuals and the contents of herbal preparations to be able to guarantee a desired outcome or to guarantee absence of an undesired outcome.

However, the incidence of adverse herb-drug interactions reported thus far is quite small and could easily be minimized by following prudent measures such as avoiding taking herbs and drugs at the same time and avoiding matching a strong drug therapy with a strong herb therapy aimed at the same physiological action.

You should always seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner before taking any dietary, nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, and inform your pharmacy of its use.