Thinking of Taking Herbal Remedies? What Every Patient Should Know

ORANGE, Calif. - With all the publicity herbal remedies have received of late, one would think the public is more educated than ever on the topic. Not necessarily true says Edward C. Geehr, M.D., member of the National Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of LifeScript, one of the nation's leaders in the distribution of personalized nutritional supplements.

"As has been demonstrated for thousands of years, herbal remedies can be a valuable addition to a person's personal wellness regimen," says Dr. Geehr. "But knowledge is the best defense against harmful side effects or misuse, and individuals need to pay careful attention to what they are taking and why."

Nearly one-third of adult Americans use herbal products each year spending over $3.2 billion out of pocket to treat a variety of conditions, including: allergies, asthma, insomnia, lung problems and digestive problems. Many of these people seek herbal remedies as a way to gain more control over their own health decisions, coupled with a desire for a more natural lifestyle. Based in part on the preponderance of medical information now available through the Internet, there is also a vastly increased consumer interest in healthcare and in self-medication.

"The rising interest in herbal remedies is not because patients are dissatisfied with their doctor or with conventional medicine," said Dr. Geehr. "Rather, many patients simply find aspects of alternative medicine to be more congruent with their own beliefs about life and health. Unfortunately, many patients elect not to discuss their use of herbal preparations with their doctors, and this can lead to complications."

Many conventional medicines in use today and nearly all vitamins have herbal origins. Herbs have been used medicinally since early human history; and, according to Dr. Geehr, an "emerging body of evidence supports claims of effectiveness for certain conditions, such as elevated cholesterol, enlarged prostate, cold and flu symptoms, constipation and insomnia, to name a few. But it's important to know when you should and shouldn't use herbal supplements."

Most herbal remedies are generally regarded by the Food and Drug Administration to be safe, similar to a food product. These "safe herbs" can be found on the American Herbal Products Association's list of Class I category herbs and can be safely consumed when used appropriately.

Yet these same herbs "may present some additional risk to patients with particular conditions or who are taking certain kinds of medication," said Dr. Geehr. Recent evidence suggests that people undergoing certain types of surgical procedures and/or general anesthesia should discontinue herbal therapy before such procedures. Herbal medications of particular concern for such patients can include garlic, ginkgo and ginseng because they can interfere with blood clotting; kava and valerian for their sedative qualities; kava's possible effect on liver function; and St. John's Wort because it can interfere with certain drugs.

And patients with certain conditions or undergoing certain treatments must consult with their physician prior to starting any herbal remedies. These conditions include, but are not limited to, surgical procedures, seizure disorders, cancer, coumadin (blood thinner) therapy and liver or kidney disease. And, although there is a lack of consensus, it is probably reasonable to restrict the use of herbal remedies during pregnancy, breast-feeding and in children under 12.

One of the most important things about herbal remedies, according to Dr. Geehr, is to be sure to obtain them through reputable sources, such as a pharmacy, supermarket or a personalized nutritional supplement company with high-quality and manufacturing standards. "At LifeScript, for example, all products are assayed at the time of manufacturing to assure purity, quality and potency," said Dr. Geehr. "In addition, the company's National Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, comprised of renowned physicians and nutritional experts, provides helpful input on product formulations and alerts the company to new developments in nutrition."

Based on the concept that "everyone is unique," LifeScript is the premier provider of personalized nutritional supplements that utilizes state-of-the-art, automated quality-controlled processing to package and deliver customized formulations in personalized, "daily-dose" packets. These research-based formulations, created by scientists and physicians who specialize in nutrition, come with the exclusive LifeScript Guarantee for Quality and Purity. For further information, visit

Kevin/Ross Public Relations
Lisa Freeman or Ross Goldberg

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