Sunday, September 03, 2006

Herbal Medicines Used for Quitting Smoking

It's very important to be aware that just because something's natural, that doesn't mean it's harmless. Some herbs interact with medical conditions or medications - or can have adverse effects you need to know about!

One to be aware of, for instance, is that St. Johns Wort can interact badly with certain other depressants. And yes, Kava has indeed been removed from the shelves throughout Europe and Canada due to liver toxicity.

If you are planning to try herbal medicines - first, do your homework! Do some research, using reputable resources... The company that makes the PDR makes an Herbal PDR as well, and you may find it in your public library.

Additionally, if you do use herbals, please please let your doctor know. It's important not only because of potential interactions and adverse effects - but so that the medical establishment can be made aware of the true numbers of people using alternative meds... they need to know this to research them. The best possible scenario will be when herbs have been tested, researched, and studies published in top medical journals.

Please be wary of quasi-scientific sites that are also trying to sell you stuff - quackery is alive and well, and it lives quite happily on the internet! There are NO constraints on herbal medicines at present - there's nothing to say the capsules contain what they say. It's even more important to check out info found online than in print. I could set up a website tomorrow, call myself a doctor, and claim all kinds of wild things.

Selected Complementary & Alternative Medicines Used in Smoking Cessation

  • Fenugreek
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Kava (or kava kava) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers of the potential risk of severe liver injury associated with the use of kava-containing dietary supplements. Basic information on kava
  • Lobelia
  • Passion flower
  • Skullcap (or scullcap)
  • Slippery elm
  • St. John's wort Please note: St. John's wort must NOT be taken with MAO inhibitor antidepressants such as phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), or isocarboxazid (Marplan) because a very serious reaction can occur. When you take St. John's wort with prescription medicines it may increase or decrease the effects of the medicines. Or the combination may cause harmful side effects. For example, St. John's wort may make birth control pills less effective. Talk to your health care provider if you are taking birth control pills.
  • Valerian
This is not by any means an exhaustive listing of all the reliable sites and resources. For more information – ask us! It’s why we’re here.

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