Herbs can act on our body as strong as medications. A serious problem is the dosage. The concentration of medicinal ingredients in plants depends on the climate, sunshine, time of harvesting, storage and preparation.
How many times have you heard a warning: Do not drink too much tea? Herbs have valuable ingredients but certain components in them can block the effect of drugs prescribed by the doctor or even encourage some symptoms in chronic patients. One ingredient can be effective to a specific ailment, but is not recommended for something else… Because herbal therapies should not be taken “for granted”.
Plants have been used in folk medicine for long time. However, the ingredients of medicinal plants are the pharmacologically active compounds, which act in the body similar to the synthetic molecules. They are metabolized in the same way using the same enzyme system, distributed through the blood and lymph, and excreted from the body trough urine, feces or sweat. So, it is the same as with any other drug or food ingredients and dietary products, and in some cases, the simultaneous use of herbal and synthetic drugs can cause or stop some disease symptoms. In addition, the effects could lead to unpredictable outcomes.
Who should be particularly cautious?
Teas, herbal mixtures and medicinal products should be carefully used and avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy and breast-feeding, due to insufficient knowledge of the substances and their actions in the body. This prevents the possibility of further negative effects on the fetus or intoxication of the newborn with breast milk. Sometimes, medicines can cause gastrointestinal problems, disorders of blood pressure, allergic reactions or photosensitization. The adverse effects of medicinal plants and their extracts are rare and mild in intensity, but should not be ignored.Sometimes it may have serious effects if you use herbs which can be toxic and can affect the liver.
Some herbs can be in conflict with both synthetic and with other herbal products, dietary supplements and certain foods. The problem of adverse effects and interactions is especially noticed in the elderly because they usually take a number of different drugs. St. John’s Wort is perhaps a typical example.