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

| 2/22/2011 3:58:10 PM

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.