The Norman Transcript

Features

May 21, 2013

How to use herbal supplements safely

(Continued)

NORMAN —

· Ginkgo: Taken to help boost memory and prevent dementia, as well as treat a variety of other ailments, this popular supplement also can raise your risk of bleeding when combined with blood thinning medications. It can also counteract the blood pressure lowering effect of thiazide diuretic drugs and can interfere with anti-seizure medications and insulin used to treat diabetes.

· Ginseng: Taken primarily to improve overall health and boost the immune system, this herb can reduce concentrations of the anticoagulant drug warfarin and can interact with some antidepressant medications. People with diabetes also should use extra caution with ginseng if they are taking medicine to lower blood sugar.

· Kava: Promoted as a treatment to curb anxiety and stress, kava has been reported to cause liver damage, including hepatitis and liver failure. It also can interfere with antipsychotic and Parkinson’s medications, can thin the blood and should not be taken with anticoagulants and can cause drowsiness, so it should not be taken in combination with any sedatives. 

· Licorice root: Taken for ulcers, bronchitis and sore throat, licorice root can cause high blood pressure and salt and water retention, raising the risk of heart problems. It also can thin the blood and should not be used with blood-thinning drugs.

· St. John’s wort: Marketed as an aid to treat depression, Saint John’s wort can reduce the effectiveness of a number of prescription medications including anticoagulants, antidepressants, seizure-control drugs and certain cancer drugs.

· Zinc: Taken as a defense against colds, excess zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea and headaches. It also can interact with a variety of prescription drugs, including antibiotics and hypertension meds.

To get more information on the safety, side effects and effectiveness of these and many other herbal remedies, visit the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center site on herbs, botanicals and supplements at mskcc-herbs.org and see the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine “Herbs at a Glance” web page, nccam.nih.gov/

health/herbsataglance.

htm.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Senior organizations that appeal to conservatives

    Dear Savvy Senior, Can you recommend any advocacy organizations for seniors other than AARP? I cut up my AARP card a few years back when they supported Obamacare and am now looking for another organization that better represents me....

    July 29, 2014

  • Seniors adjust to different sleep patterns

    According to the National Institutes of Health, older adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, sleep patterns change with age; this is often evident in the nursing home population. Frequent causes of interrupted sleep ...

    July 29, 2014

  • 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