Always be aware of potential drug interactions. People with high blood pressure or heart problems are at risk from many herbal remedies taken along with prescription drugs. For example, anyone taking anti-hypertension drugs from the potassium-sparing class should avoid potassium supplements. Energy supplements containing natural stimulants are also to be avoided, as they will raise blood pressure.
The key, as with any health-related matters, is to educate yourself and make informed decisions. If your condition is minor and there are few risks involved with the herbal remedies you want to try, go ahead and evaluate them, with your doctor’s approval. Compare the effectiveness of your treatment with over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Then decide for yourself which is the best option for you.
Many people consider nutritional supplements as a safer alternative to pharmaceuticals. However, this is not always the case, because the herb or plant used to treat illness may not be as effective or may conflict with other aspects of our overall health. Despite the long history of remedies taken from the environment, we need to look out for problems due to ineffective or harmful alternative cures.
Whenever you consider a treatment for illness, you should first consult your primary care physician. Only then will you be sure that there will not be harmful effects as a result. Your physician will also be able to warn you about side effects or other problems, based on your particular medical history.
If you know that it is safe to take a natural alternative medicine, you should research it using resources such as the Internet to uncover any problems or reports of ineffectiveness. Although you may discover conflicting data, you can do your own informal survey to determine the overall reputation of the remedy, and whether it is a fit for your condition.
Drug interactions can be a problem with all medicines, so look out for that first. Do not make the mistake of thinking that all herbs and plants are harmless. In many cases the drugs we commonly use came from herbs or plants originally, and in higher doses than those prescribed as drugs. The testing and approval of drugs is what controls this aspect of natural remedies.
Herbal alternatives should be considered independently and not as a group. Some products, such as natural skin care containing aloe, are relatively harmless, and beneficial for treating dry skin. Even in that case, however, you should be sure to check for allergic reactions, and discontinue use if any adverse reaction is seen.
Even when herbal remedies are safe, they may not be effective. If the condition is not serious, then this is not a problem. But if you are treating serious medical issues, using an ineffective remedy will make the underlying condition more serious. This failure to treat the condition is a major cause of complications from use of natural remedies. The remedy itself is not the problem, rather the failure to treat based on an ineffective cure is the problem.