The Norman Transcript

Features

May 21, 2013

How to use herbal supplements safely

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, Are herbal supplements safe for seniors who are taking other prescription medications? I have a friend who swears by them, but I want to be sure before I take anything new.

— Cautious Carol

 

Dear Carol,

Herbal supplements have become increasingly popular in recent years as millions of Americans are looking for natural and more affordable ways to improve their health. But, many herbs also can cause side effects and can interact with prescription medications, especially if you have hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease or liver problems.

While the Food and Drug Administration regulates herbal supplements, they don’t get the same scientific scrutiny that medications do. Herbal supplement manufacturers do not have to get FDA approval, and they don’t have to prove a product’s safety and effectiveness before it’s marketed.

So, before you start taking any new supplement, no matter how natural or harmless it may seem, you need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure it’s safe for you.

In the meantime, here are a few popular herbs you should know about that can cause problems when taken with certain medications:

· Aloe vera: Used on your skin, aloe vera is perfectly safe. But taken orally as a laxative, it may interact with blood sugar-lowering medicines used to treat diabetes.

· Ginger: A gram or so of powdered ginger can help ease nausea, but it can also interfere with anticoagulant (blood thinning) medications like warfarin and even aspirin. If taken in large quantities, it could interfere with cardiac, diabetes and blood pressure meds.

· Garlic: Marketed as a pill, capsule or powder to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, garlic acts as a blood thinner. So if you’re taking an anticoagulant, use with caution because garlic can make your blood too thin, increasing the risk of excessive bleeding.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Norman volunteer recognized for work at Veterans Corner

    Each week, we recognize a volunteer who makes that extra effort to assure that a veteran or surviving spouse receives VA benefits. Shirley Clark-Cowdin has been with us four years. During that time, she and her crew of ladies have helped ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Here is how reverse mortgages operate nowadays

    Dear Savvy Senior, What can you tell me about reverse mortgages? I was considering one last year, but now I hear they are more difficult to get....

    April 15, 2014

  • Annual Norman Iris Show set at library

    A tradition of the Norman Area Iris Society and Norman Public Library returns this spring with the annual Norman Iris Show from 1 to 4 p.m. April 27 in the Lowry Room of the library, 225 N. Webster Ave....

    April 15, 2014

  • Allan Oehlschlager, family celebrating 100-year milestone

    From Kansas City to Norman with stops in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Yale, Oklahoma City and Edmond — looking back as he prepared to mark his 100th birthday today, Allan Oehlschlager termed it a “glorious ride.” Born April 13, 1914, in ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Single parents to be honored

    Five Oklahoma single parents and two adult children of single parents will be honored with awards at the Single Parent Support Network black tie fundraiser, “An Enchanted Evening,” on April 29 at the Jim Thorpe Museum and Oklahoma Sports ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Dreams for the next 14 years

    On Monday I’ll be the proud aunt of a 14-year-old niece. For 14 years, I’ve had the chance to get used to her being 14 someday, and I’m still not there. Maybe in another 14 years, I’ll realize that she’s not a baby anymore....

    April 13, 2014

  • Midwest City reunions set

    Midwest City High School class reunions for 1970 to 1979 will be hosted in June at the Midwest City Community Center....

    April 13, 2014

  • Not typical boy behavior

    Q: My 18-year-old son and a slightly younger friend recently found some mice and decided to dispose of them. They drowned one and set the other one on fire. When I confronted my son for torturing animals, his response was “They’re just ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Readers respond to co-teaching issue

    We’ll say it again, we love our readers. Thanks to all of you who had comments about our column from the mom regarding her daughter in co-taught classes. We would like to remind you that our column is based solely on our experiences as ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Callery Pear is a beautiful invader

    You have probably noticed that trees are beginning to break bud and bloom with beautiful flowers. One of the earliest, and certainly one of the showiest, is the Callery Pear. One cultivated form of this tree is commonly called “Bradford ...

    April 11, 2014