Herbal supplements might seem tempting. They have long been used for their claimed health benefits. But it is important to know that there are very few medical studies on herbal supplements. They are not as scientifically scrutinized and regulated as other medications. They are regulated by FDA as dietary supplements and not as drugs. Consumers should not consider them as “safe and natural” but should learn all about its mechanism and side effects. Proper recommendation from doctor should be taken before consuming any.
Here is a list of some herbal supplements which could be harmful to you.
Kava is a herbal remedy and a natural alternative for sedating prescriptions. Kava is used to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, and fatigue. It is one of the most popular dietary supplements in USA. Concerns have been raised in recent years about the safety of kava use. Several studies reported that people who use dietary supplement containing kava extracts suffer from severe liver toxicity. This has also lead to complete failure of the organ. Other potential side effects are jaundice, stomach pain, shakiness, spasms, itching, and rash, swelling of mouth or throat and difficulty in breathing. As a result, the drug regulating agencies of several countries like Switzerland and Germany have completely banned the use of kava. Food and Drug Administration, USA has issued a warning about possible liver damage due to kava use.
Germander is used as a herbal supplement for many general health problems. People use it for treating gall bladder infection, cleansing of gut, stomach ache, diarrhea and weight loss. It is preferred as an antiseptic and as a mouthwash. Germander is regarded as very unsafe for use as it causes damage to the liver. Apart from this there are other side effects like chest pain, breathing problem, skin hives, itching, and rashes. The sale of germander is completely banned in France. Canada has also restricted its inclusion in any product which is consumed orally. It is still in use in USA as a flavoring agent in alcohol.
Ephedra or ma huang herb is a stimulant and ephedrine containing product. It promotes short term weight loss. Ephedrine in combination with caffeine promotes immediate physical performance and endurance. But there many side effects and risks associated with this herb like nausea, vomiting, palpitations, heart attack, stroke, brain damage, and death. FDA has completely banned ephedrine containing products since 2004.
4. Bitter orange
The oil, peel, flower, leaf, fruit, and juice of bitter orange are used to make medicine. It is used effectively for treating fungal skin infections. It is assumed to be a good supplement for weight loss. But research has shown it has no effect on weight loss. It is also used for gastrointestinal disorders, regulating fat level in body, cold, sleep disorders etc. Bitter orange is safe when taken in small amounts with food but possibly unsafe when taken as medicinal supplements. Bitter orange and caffeine, when used as a combination in weight loss and body building supplements, results in high blood pressure and increased heart beat. It can also trigger headaches, sensitivity to sun, fainting, glaucoma, and heart arrhythmia. Bitter orange is considered as a banned substance by National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Yohimbe is a herbal Viagra supplement. It is used for sexual arousal, erectile dysfunction, and other sexual problems. It is also used for enhancing athletic performances, weight loss, exhaustion, and regulating blood pressure. Yohimbe has been linked to severe side effects like nausea, headache, increased heart rate, psychosis, sweating, dizziness, frequent urination, kidney problems, seizures, heart strokes and death. The effective dose is very close to the toxic dose so it should be avoided.