One of the things that we often get asked about from customers or potential customers is will the herbs interact with their medications.
First of all, I am not a doctor…nor do we have any doctors on staff. We are not well-versed in the pharmaceutical world. In fact, I’m of the opinion that drugs are over-used and overprescribed while there are plenty of natural remedies available that could yield better results. That’s not to say that all drugs are bad, some do have their place. (But many of them are definitely not safe)
As such, we’re not well-versed in what specific pharmaceuticals do or how those pharmaceuticals will interact with our herbs. The fact is that very little research has been done on many of the herbs we carry, so many drug interactions are unknown.
How We Display Contraindications
Where something is known and covered well in the literature, we will make sure to mention it on the product description pages. You’ll typically find this near the bottom of the page under a heading of contraindications or side effects. For example, this comes from our Ashwagandha Spagyric Tincture.
Side Effects and Contraindications
The side effects of Ashwagandha typically only happen at excessive dosages. It’s been reported to cause abortions, so pregnant women should avoid this herb. It is not recommended to take in combination with other sedatives or anti-anxiety drugs. Large doses may cause diarrhea and stomach upset.
Those with nightshade sensitivity may experience dizziness and headache and might want to avoid Ashwagandha.
You’ll also find info inside of the FAQ that we have for each product.(Once you’re on the page click the tab that says FAQ.)
There, you’ll find many questions and answers, including:
Are there any drug interactions associated with ashwagandha tincture?
Any sedatives, barbiturates, and anxiolytics as it may potentiate these effects. Ashwagandha supports the immune system, so if you’re on immunosuppressives it will likely counter the effects to some degree. Please talk to your doctor in any of these cases.
Ask a Doctor or Ask Online
The common disclaimer would be to refer you to your medical doctor to ask them. However, in doing so, you’re more than likely to get the opposite effect. They may know a lot about drugs but know next to nothing about herbs.
Of course, there are some MD’s that may know this area well. Or others such as naturopaths. Hopefully, you can find a quality one to consult with.
But for your own research purposes, we point you to the following herb and drug interaction checkers.
Once again, many of our herbs aren’t even in these databases.
There is also the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database which is a lot more comprehensive. However, it appears this database requires a paid subscription to use it.
You also have the option of heading to Google and typing in the names of the drugs and herbs in question to see if anything comes up anywhere about interactions. These methods are not perfect. But they can be a good start. And in fact, it is what we would do if we have a question about an herb and medication.
We hope to have more detailed information about herbs and drug interactions in the near future on all of our products.
If you have any questions or comments about this process (please not about specific herbs and drugs) then post them below.
How to Safely Test Herbs when on Drugs
When in doubt, you can still test herbs out to see if there are any noticeable effects. I’m not aware of any interactions that should be permanently damaging.
Start your test with a very small dose and then ratchet up (increase doses in small increments) over time.
Start with one-quarter of the minimum recommended dose. Consume that and wait a day. Wait longer if you feel the need to. Any side effects? Any benefits?
Assuming there are no negative consequences repeat this with half the minimum dose. The three quarters. Then a full minimum dose. And if you so choose, keep increasing from there.
At some point, you may notice some side effects, in which case there may be a possible interaction. Of course, depending on the side effect it could also be other things going on. (People are often so quick to blame the herbs…but isn’t it really the drug’s fault?)
Hopefully, there are no side effects and you’ll begin to notice the benefits of the herb you’re taking. This is how you can ratchet up the dose in a way that stays on the cautious side, rather than jumping in with both feet.