Monday, May 28, 2007

Herbal Scare Number...

Whenever I see an article about herbal supplements, I can always tell what's coming and it isn't good. Once again in trying to prop up western pharmaceuticals which have a long and rich history of harming the patient, they bring up ephedra. For the last time, it is NOT a Chinese weight loss herb, it is an herb that is always used in conjunction with several others (to mitigate its effects) and it is primarily used to help move water from the lungs. That usually means breathing difficulties caused by colds or asthma. Period. The fact that others have taken its water moving ability as a diet drug is NOT Chinese medicine's fault.

For that matter, gingko biloba is toxic and we recommend that it not be used for longer than six weeks. The only traditional formula that it appears regularly in, is for asthma, not memory enhancement. It is very rare that we prescribe a single herb, tailored formulas are much more effective. Asking one's doctor for advice about herbs is foolish. They have no training (just like in nutrition) in herbology so their only response has to be negative. In California only Licensed Acupuncturists have been tested and certified by the state. Stay out of those super vitamin stores with the untrained but arrogant sales people.

I pretty much quit prescribing herbs because I got tired of repeating myself. Patients would come in with a list of as many as 27 different drugs that their doctor had given them, but they had never talked with the pharmacist. The doctor, in most cases, only knows what the pharmaceutical rep tells him (at least according to my brother, a former rep for two very large pharmaceutical corporations), whereas the pharmacist is required to know about all the drugs they dispense. And their interactions.

When in doubt ask a pharmacist that you trust, they don't just push pills into little bottles. You are filling your prescriptions at only one pharmacy aren't you?

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice. I would love to find out more about herbs -- do you know of a good website where I could get started?