The Monitor :: Let’s Be Cautious When Self-Medicating With Herbs
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Last Updated
Tuesday 13 November 2018, 16:21 pm.
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Let’s Be Cautious When Self-Medicating With Herbs

While many people rely on herbs to treat a variety of health conditions and ailments, and some just take herbs to boost their immune system or as a preventative measure.
By Monitor Editor Mon 20 Aug 2018, 11:03 am (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: Let’s Be Cautious When Self-Medicating With Herbs








Although herbs are said to be harmless, some can be potentially dangerous, especially to people taking medication. Apart from possible dangers emanating from interactions with prescription medicine, there is also another danger of people who often take poisonous plants, mistakenly, thinking it is a herbal plant. Elsewhere in this edition, we report of a 58-year-old man in Palapye who recently died after consuming a plant he and his colleagues had mistaken for edible medicinal root.

The man is not the only human to have succumbed to self-administered herbs. The Internet is yet another vehicle, which promotes different herbs, as alternative medicine to traditional medicine. Nowadays most households have ‘remedies’ such as Activated Charcoal, Cod Liver Oil, Molasses, just to mention but a few, all thanks to the flow of information on the Internet on the benefits of such supplements.

While it may be true that certain herbs may cure, or help reduce the effects of certain conditions, there is need to be cautious when taking some of these popular herbs. There are very few valid medical studies on herbal remedies, their safety, effectiveness or mechanisms of action. As such, taking herbs sometimes can pose a danger to people taking prescription medicine as it can cause serious and fatal interactions with certain medication.

Most people are now on the

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guava leaves craze, which many believe are good for diabetics, people who want to lose weight, and also good as a hair product. While it is not our place to discredit the many uses of the guava leaves, it is our duty to caution that proper care should be taken by individuals who choose to include herbs into their daily routine, either as a preventative or for medicinal purposes.

The Palapye man who lost his life after taking what he believed was a medicinal root, with detox properties for the whole body, consumed a poisonous plant, which ultimately claimed his life and left their others dangerously ill.

Natural medicine may have significant toxicity, and the safety of combining natural remedies with conventional medical therapy has not been well studied, hence the need for caution before listening to friends or information from unofficial websites singing praises about the benefits of certain herbs.

The investigation into herbal toxicity is limited by the following: the lack of a good animal model, a passive reporting system, analytical methodology that is not well characterised, limited knowledge of active ingredients and chemical interactions, limited knowledge of the mechanism of action, variability in the preparation method, and inter-patient variability.

Let’s take care of ourselves and ask our doctors before we start taking medicinal herbs.

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