A drug interaction refers to the possibility that a drug, herb or food may alter the pharmacological effects of another drug given concurrently. Experts suggest that natural does not mean it is completely safe. Everything you put in your mouth has the potential to interact with something else.
A medication that is taken by mouth travels through the digestive system in much the same way as food and herbs taken orally do. So, when a drug is mixed with food or another herb, each can alter the way the body metabolizes the other. Some drugs interfere with the body's ability to absorb nutrients. Similarly, some herbs and foods can lessen or increase the impact of a drug.
Many people make the mistake believing all herbs and foods are safe. This is not the case. Herbs and foods can interact with medications and result in serious reactions. Always tell your doctor or health practitioners what you are taking so that they can advise you of possible complications. Also, keep an eye out for unusual symptoms. Very often, this may foretell the symptoms of a drug interaction.
High-risk patients, such as the elderly, patients taking three or more medications for chronic conditions, patients suffering from diabetes, hypertension, depression, high cholesterol or congestive heart failure, should be especially on the lookout for such side reactions.
Here is list of herbs that do not mix with heart medications (i.e. Warfarin). This class of medications called anticoagulants (blood thinners) work by decreasing the clotting ability of the blood:
• Coenzyme Q10 can be used in the management of mitochondrial disease, heart failure, hypertension, angina and arrhythmias. It is thought to work by being a free-radical scavenger, antioxidant, and membrane stabilizer. Coenzyme Q10 is structurally related to Vitamin K (menaquinone); therefore, it possesses procoagulant properties.
• Danshen has been used in the management of cardiovascular diseases. It has been associated with decreasing blood pressure, inhibiting platelet aggregation, and coronary artery vasodilation.
• Dong quai has been used in the management of menopausal symptoms and menstrual disorders.