14 Jun 2007 11:13 pm

Herbal Remedies: Effective or Risky?

Here’s an interesting post I found while browsing through the Nursing blogs from this week’s “Change of Shift.” (See previous post.) It is by Judy of Tigger’s Don’t Jump and addresses the subject of Herbal Remedies: Effective or Risky?

The answer to that question, of course, is “it depends.”

It depends on WHICH herbal remedy. It depends on what else you’re taking. It depends on whether or not you take the herbal remedy instead of the effective medication your physician has prescribed.

Judy then goes through a list of common herbal remedies and offers a brief commentary on each. She concludes with this very good advice:

The most significant risk of herbal supplements is the risk that people might use them INSTEAD of effective medications. I had cancer several years ago. People I barely knew begged me to try various herbal supplements instead of the chemotherapy regimen recommended by my physicians. I did the research. The herbal supplements they recommended had been investigated by NIH and found to be useless. The chemo regimen had also been studied – in great detail – for many years and found to increase 5 year survival rates for cancer of the type and stage mine was from 55-65% with surgery alone to nearly 90% with chemo and radiation. Sort of a no-brainer there. It was hard for me to believe that people would not be convinced by the statistics, so I shared them with those who recommended herbs instead of chemo. They weren’t impressed.

Some herbs are safe, some aren’t. Some may help, some definitely won’t. Do the research — it’s out there. Look for actual research (peer-reviewed studies) as opposed to pure opinion. Ask your physician. If he or she isn’t familiar with the supplement, share your research. If you take prescription medications, make sure your doc knows what supplements you’re taking — and make sure your pharmacist knows too. It might save your life.

I’m not recommending any of the herbs Judy discusses in this post. That’s a decision you should make after discussing it with your doctor… and like Judy says… doing the research. I simply thought that she did an excellent job of presenting this material and that you might want to read this post and possibly check out the rest of her blog.

– Dean

2 Responses to “Herbal Remedies: Effective or Risky?”

  1. on 15 Jun 2007 at 12:25 am 1.Judy said …

    Thanks for the link — and the compliments! Both very much appreciated.

    My dad has chronic back pain — better lately and he managed to avoid surgery. I’ll have to ask him if he’s found your site yet.

  2. on 17 Jun 2007 at 10:24 pm 2.Dean said …

    Hi Judy,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope your dad finds some useful information here if he does stop by. And I hope the link brings you a lot of new readers for your blog.

    Dean

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