These safe herb and vitamin combinations will keep you from making mistakes with over-the-counter vitamins and natural herbs.
Read more about natural heartburn remedies: Treating Heartburn with Natural Remedies.
Mixing Vitamins and Medicinal Herbs
There are some herbs and vitamins that you can’t take together.
In every issue of Herbs for Health, professionals from a variety of health-care fields answer your questions about using medicinal herbs. Medical doctor Robert Rountree and herbalist Rosemary Gladstar respond for this issue.
Choosing Safe Herb and Vitamin Combinations
Q. Are there any herbs and vitamins that can’t be taken together? I take coenzyme Q-10 (90 mg) for my mitral valve prolapse, dong quai root (1,130 mg) for female problems, and kava (425 mg) for stress, along with vitamin C, B-complex, and beta-carotene. Is it safe to combine all of these? Also, can you suggest a good reference book?
A. There are some herbs and vitamins that you can’t take together. In general, the more concentrated or potent the extract, the more you begin to get a drug-like effect, which means a higher potential for side effects. However, I don’t have any reason to suspect a toxic interaction for any of the vitamins or herbs that you have listed.
Two books I have found to be very helpful are Herbal Prescriptions for Better Health by Donald Brown, N.D., and The Healing Power of Herbs by Michael Murray, N.D. (both published by Prima in 1996).
A. The particular combination of herbs and vitamins you are taking in conjunction with your medication should not cause any adverse reactions or side effects.
However, one does need to follow sensible guidelines when combining herbs, vitamins, and allopathic medication, not only to avoid potentially ineffective or harmful combinations, but to maximize the benefit from each.
On occasion I’ve heard of or witnessed certain herbal combinations that cause unpleasant results or side effects, but often the reaction has turned out to be idiosyncratic, or an individualized response.
Though no hard and fast rules apply for what not to combine, there are endless amounts of good information available on herbs and vitamins that do just combine well. For an exceptional listing of trustworthy herb books, request the American Botanical Council’s Herbal Education Catalog, which contains more than 300 books, along with audio and video tapes, computer software, and special reports. The American Botanical Council can be reached at (800) 373-7105 or by writing to P.O. Box 201660, Austin, Texas 78720. Catalogs are $2.50 or free with an order.
One of my favorite books is The New Holistic Herbal (Element, 1991) by David Hoffmann.
Robert Rountree, M.D., is a physician at the Helios Health Center in Boulder, Colorado, co-author of Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child, and an advisory board member for the Herb Research Foundation.
Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar is founder of The California School of Herbal Studies, co-founder of Sage Mountain Retreat Center, and author of Herbal Healing for Women. She has more than twenty years of experience as an herbalist, teacher, and herbal events organizer.
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The information offered in “Q & A” is not intended to be a substitute for advice from your health-care provider.