Mother Earth Living

Natural Health

Better living through nature

Add to My MSN

Herbs and Heart Health: 13 Herbal Remedies Not to Take With Heart Medication

2/22/2011 3:58:10 PM

Tags: natural health, health, heart health, blood pressure, heart medications, blood thinners, herbal remedies, herbs, warfarin, digoxin, garlic, ginkgo, green tea, ginseng, ginger, grapefruit juice, saw palmetto, st. john’s wort, Echinacea, hawthorn, aloe vera, licorice root, black cohosh

Herbal remedies often work just as well as conventional Western medications, but when it comes to the health of your heart, make sure it’s one or the other. A 2010 report from the Mayo Clinic documented 30 herbal remedies that could be dangerous for people taking heart medications. Because herbal remedies often have the same effects as heart medications, taking both herbal remedies and heart medication doubles the effect, thinning blood to extremes, lowering cholesterol to dangerous levels, and in some cases interfering with how the medication works.

If you’re taking heart medication, here are a few herbal remedies to avoid.

green tea 
Green tea may contain heart-protecting compounds such as polyphenols, but the vitamin K in green tea can interfere with warfarin, a common heart medication. Photo By minato/Courtesy Flickr. 

Garlic thins blood and lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure, but when mixed with anti-clotting medications such as warfarin, garlic increases the risk of bleeding.

Ginkgo improves circulation, but, like garlic, when mixed with warfarin, ginkgo increases the risk of bleeding.

Grapefruit juice may promote heart health and even help you lose weight, but this citrus juice also blocks an enzyme that prescription heart medications need to be properly absorbed, resulting in high concentrations of the medicine in the blood stream.

Ginseng boosts energy and stimulates the body; consequently, it also raises blood pressure.

Green tea contains many heart-healthy compounds, such as polyphenols, but green tea also contains vitamin K, which counteracts the effects of warfarin.

garlic bulb 
Garlic naturally lowers blood pressure and thins blood, helping to lower high blood pressure, but its anti-clotting properties can be dangerous when mixed with prescription heart medications. Photo By niznoz/Courtesy Flickr. 

Ginger has a number of health benefits and may even help lower cholesterol, but ginger can also slow the clotting of blood, so it shouldn’t be taken with blood-thinning medications like warfarin.

St. John’s Wort, which is commonly taken for anxiety and depression, affects how the body absorbs other medications, reducing their effect. St. John’s Wort can also increase heart rate and blood pressure.

Saw palmetto can help fight problems caused by an enlarged prostate gland, but it also increases the risk of bleeding when taken with warfarin.

Echinacea may boost immune function, but taking it with cholesterol-lowering statin medications, niacin and fibrates can damage the liver.

Hawthorn lowers high blood pressure, but when taken with drugs designed to lower blood pressure, hawthorn can intensify the effects of these medications.

Aloe vera
Aloe vera causes a drop in potassium levels, a mineral essential to normal heart function, and interferes with heart medications. Photo By Powerhouse Museum/Courtesy Flickr. 

Aloe vera, used topically to treat skin problems and internally for conditions such as asthma and diabetes, causes a drop in the blood’s levels of potassium, a mineral essential to normal heart function. Aloe vera also interferes with the heart medication digoxin.

Licorice root, another stimulant, can raise blood pressure and cause a drop in potassium levels.

Black cohosh provides relief to menopausal women, but, like St. John’s Wort, this herb can interfere with how the body absorbs medications and can lead to liver damage.

These herbs are part of a bigger list, which also includes bilberry, fenugreek, Irish moss, kelp, oleander and other herbs. For a complete list of herbs that shouldn’t be taken with heart medications, see the original study. If you’re taking heart medication, consult with your doctor before taking herbal remedies.



Related Content

In The News: The Interaction Between Herbs and Blood-Thinning Medications

Check out this list of herbsl supplements that can interact negatively with heart medications.

Don’t Flush Old Medication! Recycle Them with National Take-Back Day

Unused and expired medications are difficult to recycle. Participate in National Take-Back Day this ...

Feel-Good Friday: 7 Herbs for Health and Wellness

Fight common ailments with these seven herbs for health and wellness.

Herbs and Herbalists

It's a constant battle: medicine versus herbs. This is how Marguerite got interested in herbs.

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

MY COMMUNITY
no image
HarvestRight
8/21/2014 5:22:39 PM
no image
NatureHillsNursery
8/20/2014 10:03:07 AM
no image
NatureHillsNursery
8/20/2014 9:59:22 AM
no image
NatureHillsNursery
8/20/2014 9:30:07 AM
no image
melisastarr
8/19/2014 12:57:22 PM
no image
Peggy McMahan
8/18/2014 11:29:51 AM
no image
lorina21
8/17/2014 10:16:45 PM
no image
lorina21
8/17/2014 10:15:23 PM


Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.