Three medications shown to interact ‘strongly’ with herbal supplements

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The supplement industry has grown exponentially in recent decades, partly because supplements are exempt from the regulation imposed on other pharmaceuticals. This can pose problems, particularly when combining herbal remedies with potent drugs. Red sage, which is among the most widely used roots in herbal Chinese Medicine, has been found to interact dangerously with three commonly used heart medicines. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, Danshen supplements may interact strongly with some heart medicine.

The health body warns it may interact with blood thinners by raising the bleeding, which can also happen in people taking warfarin or aspirin.

Blood pressure medicines have been also been known to interact dangerously with Danshen, as blood pressure can fall too low.

Mayo Clinic explains: “Danshen may make your blood pressure too low if you take Danshen with a drug to lower blood pressure.

“An example of a blood pressure drug is the calcium channel blocker diltiazem (Cardizem).”

The third heart medication to avoid is digoxin, as Danshen could exacerbate some of the drug’s effects.

Mayo Clinic states: “Digoxin is used to treat many heart conditions. It also might raise the risk of irregular heartbeat, also called arrhythmia.”

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Danschen is a root traditionally used in Chinese Medicine in conjunction with other herbs like ginseng. 

Also known as Red Sage Rooth, it is principally used to improve bodily functioning and treat bleeding or abnormal menstruation. 

More recent uses of the supplement, however, have included the treatment of blood vessels and heart conditions. 

In fact, the benefits of Danshen supplements appear to be somewhat effective for the prevention of circulatory problems like stroke, according to RxList. 

To date, most of the supplement’s drawbacks have been attributed to the class of compounds known as tanshinones.

These molecules are believed to be responsible for making the effects of certain drugs stronger.

Other popular herbal supplements that may warrant caution are garlic and evening primrose oil, as these may also enhance the effects of certain drugs.

Taken alongside painkillers, these supplements carry a risk of bleeding that could prove fatal.

Healthline points out that there is scant research investigating the side effects of red sage, meaning many of the risks may still be undocumented. 

Out of an abundance of caution, the body suggests that anyone under the age of 18 and anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding avoid taking the medicine.

The Mayo Clinic adds: “If your health care provider tells you it’s OK to use a herbal supplement along with medicine, be careful. 

“Follow directions about how much medicine to take. Watch for any symptoms that you may be having a drug interaction, such as fast heartbeat and blood pressure changes”.

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