Natural Health Products

The active components of many natural health products (NHPs) are metabolized by similar pathways to modern medicines. It is therefore important to recognize whether NHPs are being taken, and specifically which ones, and to be aware of potential interactions. While many people appear to take NHPs safely, potential interactions have been identified [54]. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have the potential to interact with herbs that have antiplatelet activity (e.g. gingko biloba, garlic, ginger, bilberry, dong quai, feverfew, meadowsweet, turmeric and willow) and with those containing coumadin (chamomile, motherworth, horse chestnut, fenugreek and red clover). The risk ofhepatotoxicity may be increased when acetaminophen is taken in conjunction with herbs such as kava. The use of sedative herbs such as chamomile, valerian, and kava may increase CNS depression due to opioid medications, and opioid effectiveness may be reduced by ginseng.

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