A recent study by Dr Charles Awortwe, of the University of Stellenbosch in Tygerberg in South Africa, stated that mixing your herbal remedies and pills with prescription medicines could be harmful. Why? Because of the counter effects it may have on your body. It was found that, in 60 percent of the cases that the doctor looked into, the herbal medicines hindered with the active ingredient in the pharmaceutical drugs. In some cases, it even sped up the process of breaking down the drug in the liver; thereby, reducing its effectiveness.
"Intake of herbal medicines and prescribed medications is a common practice especially in patients with hypertension, diabetes, cancer, seizures, and depression. If you are taking herbal remedies you should disclose it to your clinician,” said Awortwe in the Business Standard. “A potential interaction and its consequences can be very detrimental to the health of the patient.” This also goes for those suffering depression and taking anti-depressant herbal medicines that are sold over the counter along with prescribed medication. This also includes the vitamin supplements that we orally consume without any advice from a medical practitioner.
Most common ailments - like, blood-thinning drug Warfarin, cholesterol-lowering statins, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, immunosuppressant drugs (used to make the body less likely to reject a transplanted kidney, heart or other organ), and antiretroviral drugs (used for the treatment of HIV) - that were a part of this research, saw counter effects.
In a country like India, where we assume that our grandma's tried and tested remedies can cure almost anything, study findings like this can make a big difference. It means, doesn't blindly mix ayurvedic remedies with allopathic medicines for your health issues. It was a shock to see that some of the most common herbs that could cause medical problems include the likes of gingko biloba, ginseng green tea, sage, flaxseed, cranberry, goji juice, chamomile, chokeberry juice, echinacea, and turmeric - all of which are often a part of our daily eating habits, in some form or the other. Even your basic haldi doodh could be harmful, go figure!
So, the next time you pair a Ghar ka nuskha with any other pharmaceutical medication, be sure to double check the side effects of the herbal medicines with your doctor since it might not be the safest thing to do.