Side Effects of Herbal Medicine

Side Effects of Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicines are the medicines made from organic plants their seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. They have been used since centuries for their effective healing properties.

Many herbs have potent (powerful) ingredients and they are to be taken with the same level of caution and prescription as pharmaceutical medications. In fact, many pharmaceutical medications are based on man-made versions of naturally occurring compounds found in plants. For instance,the heart medicine digitalis was derived from the foxglove plant.

Guidelines for Herbal Medicines

Herbal medicines are usually thought to be completely safe because they are organic and contain natural properties.

Herbal medicines may have some of their own side effects such as; asthma, allergic reactions, migraine, rashes, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea that can range from mild to severe.

Always tell your herbal therapist:

Like other prescription medications, herbal medicine should always be prescribed by a qualified and registered practitioner. Talking about your health means sharing information about how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally. Be clear and concise when describing your symptoms. Your description helps the doctor identify the problem.

  • Discuss your medical history and which over-the-counter, herbal supplements, vitamins and prescription medications you are taking.
  • Describe if you have any allergies or any allergic reactions you have experienced.
  • If you have been drinking.
  • if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Herbal Medicines and their side- effects

Herbal medicine is the use of drugs found in plants for prevention and cure of disease. Some are safe but others may produce harmful side effects. When herbs are taken with a prescribed or over-the-counter drug, health problems may occur. Always check with your doctor before using herbal medicines.

Few side effects of Herbal Medicines are;

  • Garlic (Allium sativum) -Garlic has it’s own known side effects, it is toxic for children or in pregnancy. It can cause heart burning, it increases the rick of bleeding, causes digestion problem, it lowers the blood sugar levels, also can cause urination and digestion problems.
  • Borage (Borago officinalis) -Borage seed oil contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) which is when taken by mouth can be very harmful. It is unsafe for children and pregnant woman. Hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) might make liver disease worse, indigestion, nausea, skin irritation and headaches.
  • Chaparral (Larrea indentata) -Chaparral is unsafe for children and pregnant woman or for breast feeding mothers. it’s side effects may include kidney pain, liver problems, acute hepatitis, nausea, fever, weight loss, skin irritation, dermatitis, and stomach pain.
  • Perforate St John’s-wort (Hypericum perforatum) -Use of St. John’s wort with other medicine can cause serious serotonin imbalance which can be life threatening. It is dangerous for Alzheimer’s patient, bipolar patients, and schizophrenia patients and pregnant woman.
  • Ephedra; Ma-huang (Ephedra sinica) -Ephedra use is linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, muscle disorders, seizures, strokes, irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness, and death. It is even banned in some states. It can cause chest pain, diabetes, anxiety, tremor, kidney stones and seizures disorder.
  • Life root (Senecio aureus) – it contains chemicals called hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which may block blood flow in the veins and cause liver damage. It is harmful for pragnant woman and breast feeding mothers.Hepatotoxic PAs might also cause cancer and birth defects. It can trigger allergies and liver diseases.
  • Common hop (Humulus lupulus) -people who are sensitive to hormones need to avoid common hop. It can trigger the breast cancer and endometriosis. It can cause too much sleepiness after surgery.
  • Chilli Pepper (Capsicum frutescens) -it is harmful for children. Skin problems (dermatitis) have been reported in breast-fed infants when mothers eat foods heavily spiced with capsicum peppers. It can trigger the bleeding disorders, runny nose, eye irritation, abdominal pain, diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) – it is harmful for pregnant woman, children, and breast feeding mothers. It can cause miscarriage in pregnant woman. Sassafras can slow down the nervous system, can cause liver damage, caner, trembling and shock.
  • Kava (Piper methysticum) -Kava can cause liver damage, it increases the effects of anesthesia, Parkinson’s disease, and can make depression worse. It is toxic for pregnant and breast feeding mothers.
  • Aleo Vera (Aloe barbadensis) -it can cause allergic reactions, like; burning and itching, kidney pain, heart disturbance, and diarrhea.

Precautions before buying Herbal Medicines:

Herbal supplements can interact with conventional medicines or have strong effects. Keep these things in mind before buying herbal medicines;

  • Purchase them from reputable store.
  • Never buy them online.
  • Do not self- diagnose.
  • Use the prescribed dosage only.
  • Watch out for any side-effects or unusual symptoms.
  • Do your research about the medicine, you are taking.
  • Consult your doctor before taking or stopping any dosage.

A lot of people regard natural treatments as safe, but this is a dangerous assumption to make. Natural herbal remedies can be just as dangerous as pharmaceutical drugs. According to a research study published in the journal Drug Metabolism Reviews says “herbal supplements are one of the main causes of toxicity seen in clinics and account for about half of total liver failures”. so be very careful before using herbal medicines because they can create adverse effects in some cases.


  • Steve is a pioneer writer for Herbatico since day one. Mike has over 7 years of experience in writing articles in health niches.

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