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Herbal Suppliments That Nurses Should Know

Herbal Suppliments That Nurses Should Know

Asian Ginseng; NursingLink

Many herbs have a long history of use and of claimed health benefits and supplement sales are soaring in the US and abroad. However herbs are not controlled substances and many can interact with drugs and can cause health problems. It more important than ever for nurses to know the basics about popular herbs in order to protect patients from misinformation and potentially harmful effects of herbal supplements.

The most important facts to know about herbs:

1. Herbs are classified by the FDA as a food and not a drug. This is important because:

• Herbs are not regulated for quality and potency as drugs are.

• Herbal formulas can be sold without being studied to see if they are helpful or harmful.

• Herb labels may claim any health benefit, as long as it is not claiming to treat a health condition and there is some research (somewhere) that supports the claim. For example, if a formula has a trace of ginko biloba in it, it is allowed to make the claim that it may improve memory function, even though the formula itself was never tested.

2. “Natural” does not mean safe. For example, the herbs kava and comfrey have been linked to serious liver damage.

3. Women who are pregnant or nursing should be especially cautious about using herbal supplements, either alone or in mixtures., since these products can act like drugs. This caution also applies to treating children with herbal supplements.

4. Some herbs are known to interact with medications. Even if your provider does not know about a particular supplement, they can access the latest medical guidance on its uses, risks, and interactions. It is best to use supplements under the guidance of a medical professional who has been properly trained in herbal medicine.

Popular supplements every nurse should know:

1. Ginko Biloba

2. St. Johns Wort

3. Asian Ginseng

4. Echinacea

5. Black Cohash

6. Kava

8. Evening Primrose

9. Saw Palmetto

10. BANNED: Ephedra (aka Ma-Huang)

  • Cat_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I have had problems with mild anemia on and off for most of my adult life so I took many supplements over the years.I started to take braineffect ,a product based on natural ingredients and that helped me very much.I don't really like taking pills,but this was different.Of course I did see a doctor before starting taking it,just to be sure it's safe for my health.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    I could add to this list Milk thistle (Silybum marianum),Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) and Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).They can be used to treat liver problems and they are said to help in treating alcoholism.Of course the first step would be checking into an alcohol rehabilitation program,but these herbal remedies could help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

  • Panama-wildlife-11_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    A patient gave me a pre-op history of taking "vitamins". Over the counter vitamins were, in fact, Ginko Biloba. She nearly bleed out after her FESS. Glad I was near her room when the dam broke.

  • 002_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    we learned about this a little not enough. I would love a class in just herbs. Good article

  • U18360039_max50


    over 6 years ago


    We learned about these in our pharm class. You will run into them.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago


    Yeah!! thankz be posting it on my Nursing BLogsite. This can really help especially to those who will just take their NCLEX.

    More Power!!

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