Are Herbal Supplements Healthy?

Credit: Inhabitat

Herbal supplements have been supplementing our diets, medications, and our well-being for centuries all over the world.

Different cultures have different herbs or plant-based cures and treatments for different diseases, injuries, and bodily states. Many of the “Western” medications we use today were derived from these herbs and plants, and many of them are still used today. Being “all-natural” and plant-based, we assume these herbal supplements and medications are good for us and there is no way they can cause any type of bodily harm. Boy, is that a poor assumption.

Although there are plenty of plant-based supplements and medications that can ultimately help us to achieve our health goals, it’s also equally important we understand these “natural drugs.” We as individuals may have different reactions to different drugs; some can be negative, and some even fatal.

Here are a few herbal supplements to watch out for:

  • St. John’s Wort is a supplement that is often taken for depression, anxiety and even sleeping problems. However, it can also come with negative side effects such as headaches, nausea, and dry mouth. Moreover, it can also cause more serious problems if you are on certain medications for your heart, depression and even birth control pills.
  • Kava is another supplement that supposedly helps with treating anxiety and insomnia. However, it can also cause sever liver damage and shouldn’t be consumed if you already have liver or kidney problems. Kava is especially dangerous when taken with alcohol or any other drugs that make you drowsy.
  • Ginkgo is famous all over the world as a way to improve memory and mental functions; however, it is also a blood thinner and can cause serious problems like bleeding, especially if you’re already taking blood-thinning medications.
  • Ginger. Yes, ginger. Ginger is great for nausea, arthritis and other joint pains. However, it can also cause problems like blood clotting, heart arrythmia, unusual blood pressure, and unstable blood sugar levels.

These are just a few of the herbal supplements we may be pretty familiar with. It just goes to show how a common part of our diets can do more harm than good.