I’m taking a Turmeric Herbal Supplement- Should I Tell my Doctor?
Author: Shelley Bennetts Date Posted:16 August 2021
How do Herbal Remedies Interact with Pharmaceutical Drugs?
Herbal supplements have been used forever. Even though they are derived from plant and herb sources, their active ingredients can be very potent chemicals. In fact, many important and very powerful medicines are extracted from botanicals, including morphine from the opium poppy, penicillin from moulds, and vinca alkaloid anti-cancer drugs from the humble periwinkle. Supplements are medications. Throughout history, healers have relied on the plant world to provide relief and cures to their patient’s suffering. If you, or a loved-one are considering adding an herbal supplement to your health regime and you are asking, ‘should I tell my doctor?’, the answer is a most definite ‘yes!’
The last 100 years have brought such change that naturally occurring botanical extracts have taken a back seat in favour of synthetic compounds produced and patented by the giant pharmaceutical companies. Medical science has created compounds that have been life-changing and liberating for sufferers of many serious conditions. However, as many people can attest, these drugs can have nasty side-effects as our biological systems struggle to absorb them. Combinations of these compounds have to be closely monitored because interactions between them can be dangerous.
Unlike naturally occurring plant and herbal derivatives, synthetic drugs don’t contain essential nutrients for human health. They are foreign, and in many cases toxic, to our biological processes, requiring our bodies to work hard to maintain balance. Most people know that practically all drugs have serious side effects, and we counter those effects either with more drugs, or by turning to a natural alternative.
My point is not to poo-poo the many great leaps forward in medical science, but to stress that interactions occur between all chemicals, both naturally occurring and synthetic. There are reactions between food and drugs (drug-food interactions), drugs and essential body nutrients (drug-nutrient interactions), drug-drug interactions, drug-supplement interactions and drug-excipient interactions that can all impact our health. Herbal supplements can sometimes interfere with how a drug is metabolised, or block the intended therapeutic effect of a prescribed drug.
St. John’s Wort can speed the breakdown of some cancer chemotherapies, making them less potent. Vitamin C, when taken in large doses, can also interfere with some cancer drugs. Curcumin, derived from turmeric can interfere with blood-thinning medication, which is particularly important for those on the synthetic drug Warfarin to be aware of. Relatively few nutritional supplements have adverse interactions with pharmaceutical drugs, far fewer than the reactions between different pharmaceutical drugs.
But the problem is that most drugs interfere with levels of essential nutrients in the body. As a rule, medical drugs work against the body chemistry leading to imbalances, damage and dis-ease, while herbal supplement ingredients work with the body chemistry, promoting and sustaining health. Many of us refer to herbal supplements to counter the imbalances of essential nutrients – brought about by taking pharmaceutical drugs.
As seekers of optimum health, we need to be savvy, not reckless. Taking pharmaceutical medication is a serious matter, and drug interactions are a very real concern. Your medical specialist; doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, or naturopath are experts in drug interactions. If you are using pharmaceuticals or herbal supplements make sure you use their expertise and consult with them before adding anything new to your health regime.
The benefits of taking curcumin are many and as an herbal extract Turmeric Plus Oral Liquid provides a high level of curcuminoids in a daily dose. It is an easy, fast working and effective way to reduce inflammation and joint pain as well as being a powerful anti-oxidant. However if you are using other medications don't just jump in. Speak to your health practitioner and make sure you are doing the best for your body.