Herbs: Toxicities And Drug Interactions (cont.)

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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).

Garlic

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.")

Reactions: Allergic reactions, skin inflammation, and stomach upset have been reported. Bad breath is a notorious accompaniment. Studies in rats have shown decreases in male rats' ability to make sperm cells. Garlic may decrease normal blood clotting and should be used with caution in patients taking medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Feverfew

Uses: Most commonly used for migraine headaches.

Reactions: Feverfew can cause allergic reactions, especially in persons who are allergic to chamomile, ragweed, or yarrow. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve) or Motrin can reduce the effect of feverfew. A condition called "post-feverfew syndrome" features symptoms including headaches, nervousness, insomnia, stiffness, joint pain, tiredness, and nervousness. Feverfew can impair the action of the normal blood clotting element (platelets). It should be avoided in patients taking medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/13/2014