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
  • Ceremony marks opening of community center

    A July 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the addition of another feature to the Chickasaw Nation Carter service campus in Ardmore....

    July 27, 2014

  • Chickasaw Cultural Center a terrific place to visit

    SULPHUR — The Chickasaw Cultural Center is a magnificent tribute to a proud people and their storied heritage. Located an easy hour’s drive south from Norman, it’s among the finest travel destinations in Oklahoma. Set on 109 scenic acres, ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisoner re-entry planning for offenders with mental illness

    People leaving incarceration face a variety of challenges even without a diagnosis of mental illness. But for those who face mental health issues, re-entry into society can be troublesome. That is the topic in the first of the 2014 Fall ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Exhibit takes families on food expedition

    If your palate enjoys culinary diversity or if you’re interested in introducing new flavors to your family, join the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in tasting international delights and create your own treat during Family ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Resident makes art in new home

    There’s an old saying about a picture being “worth a thousand words,” which took on a literal meaning recently....

    July 27, 2014

  • Parents should work on themselves first

    I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the problem — they are. All this time (however long ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014