Herbs: Toxicities And Drug Interactions (cont.)

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St. John's Wort

Uses: St. John's Wort is popularly used as an herbal treatment for depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. It is technically known as Hypericum perforatum. Chemically, it is composed of at least 10 different substances that may produce its effects. The ratios of these different substances varies from plant to plant (and manufacturer).

Reactions: The most common side effect has been sun sensitivity, which causes burning of the skin. It is recommended that fair-skinned persons be particularly careful while in the sun. St. John's wort may also leave nerve changes in sunburned areas. This herb should be avoided in combination with other medications that can affect sun sensitivity such as tetracycline/Achromycin, sulfa- containing medications, piroxicam (Feldene). St. John's wort can also cause headaches, dizziness, sweating, and agitation when used in combination with serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Paxil).


Uses: Garlic has been used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol (Dr. Lucinda Miller notes that there is "...still insufficient evidence to recommend its routine use in clinical practice.")

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/13/2014