View Poll Results: Do you take:

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  • Herbal remedies (and other "Natural" remedies)

    2 5.56%
  • Other

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Thread: "Natural"/"health" foods warning

  1. #1

    "Natural"/"health" foods warning

    I really love you guys and i hope none of you get hurt. While i personally have my opinions against the use of certain herbs and other "natural" ingrediants to improve certain things like memory, speed, and activity i do want you guys to know a few things if you use them:

    -Herbal remedies and drugs do not have to be certified by the FDA.
    -Certain herbs can have very dangerous interactions with common over the counter medications and perscription medications.
    -all of the side effects are not known of the herbs since not alot of testing is done on them. Just because it has been used for thousands of years does not mean it is safe. Just look at how long trepanation and mercury was used for.



    So if any of you take herbal remedies, or other "natural" remedies to improve something ( Like brain function, memory, etc.) please, please, please, please call your doctor or a good pharmacologist and ask them if you should take [Insert name of medicine here] and tell them you take these herbs and "natural" remedies. List all of them.


    You could save yourself from damage to your heart, liver, stomach, and a multitude of other ailments.


    [spelling and added to the last sentance.]

  2. #2
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    I agree, Humphrey. Pharmacology is my stomping ground, and while much of this cr-stuff is harmless, some is not. Practicing polypharmacy without a degree is not a crime, but it might win you a Darwin award.

  3. #3
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    I would not take supplements or 'natural' remedies. But I take an ibuoprofin now and then, and some other OTC drugs for pain and swelling if I need them, so I had to choose other.

  4. #4
    Even with them I reccomend asking for any interactions.

    Like Asprine and alcohol.

  5. #5
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    my dad takes ginko bilboa or whatever it is. What's the deal with that stuff?

  6. #6
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    I don't drink very often, so it's not really a problem.

  7. #7
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    I figure if it doesn't require FDA approval, it must not do anything.

  8. #8
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    I'm reminded of a friend who was on doctor prescribed blood pressure medication, was on the Adkin's diet, and started using some herbal remedy for another condition. I warned her that she ought to talk to her doctor about the herbal. Her response "It's all natural, so it must be safe."
    My comeback, "So is arsenic."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by space cadet
    my dad takes ginko bilboa or whatever it is. What's the deal with that stuff?
    It's supposed to help you think better as you get older. I read conflicting studies as to whether that's really true. Ginko could cause complications (blood-related) if your Dad ever has impending surgery so, if that's the case, I'd have him discuss it with his doctor beforehand.

  10. #10
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    Hemlock is also natural. Natural Gas...natural. I don't really understand that arguement... there are a lot of 'natural' things that can and do kill people all the time, so how can people think that if something is natural, it must be safe?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Musashi
    Hemlock is also natural. Natural Gas...natural. I don't really understand that arguement... there are a lot of 'natural' things that can and do kill people all the time, so how can people think that if something is natural, it must be safe?
    Its good for you because they can pronounce it.

    Now how can you argue with that logic? :-P


    I agree with that. The "natural" movement is one of the dumbest things today in the consuper market. A huge ripoff of consumers that most do not realize.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musashi
    Hemlock is also natural. Natural Gas...natural. I don't really understand that arguement... there are a lot of 'natural' things that can and do kill people all the time, so how can people think that if something is natural, it must be safe?
    I have the following advice for people who spout the "It's natural, it must be safe, etc." line:

    "Try natural dentistry. The next time you have a root canal job, don't let the dentist use that non-organic anaesthetic on you!"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humphrey
    Its good for you because they can pronounce it.
    Now how can you argue with that logic? :-P.
    Yeah, I've actually heard so-called authorities tell people not to buy anything with an ingredient they can't pronounce on the label. So, how do you pronounce "ginko biloba," or "ginko bibola," or whatever the heck the stuff is? Why are chemical names more difficult to say than the names of foreign-produced herbs?

  14. #14
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    Here is a fun one. St. John's Wort inactivates most forms of the birth control pill and most people for some reason don't know this. So ladies be aware.

  15. #15
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    Chiming in as one who voted 'other'.....

    Just because it is natural, herbal, or prescribed does not tell you if it is good, bad, works, or doesn't.

    Buyer beware is true for western medicine as well as the naturopathic stuff.

    Lack of regulation of the content of herbal products is a serious problem.

    But some research on some of the products is positive. So I wouldn't automatically write it off. I wouldn't automatically accept the marketing pitches either. For some reason people tend to think there is marketing money behind the pharmaceutical company products but not behind the herbal manufacturing products. :roll:

  16. #16
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    I always like to bring up that coffee is "all-natural" and "herbal" yet for some reason most health food advocates despise the stuff.

    My speculation: it's because coffee is popular. If it wasn't you'd see health food devotees going on about how it 'energizes' you and so forth. (and charging $8 for a small bottle) :P

  17. #17
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    Let's see - Natural. As opposed to what? Supernatural? :-?

    I have been known to use cannabis sativa (consumes 47 times its weight in excess reality tm)

  18. #18
    Heck, agent orange is natural. Everything is. Gasoline, tar, soot, anti-biotics all of it. "Natural" is misleading.

  19. #19
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    Errr...not all antibiotics are natural(also the definiton of antibiotic can be misleading). Some have natural analogs, some are natural but many of the new ones are synthesized completly in the lab from chemical stock. These antibiotics also tend ot have worse side effects though since they were never processed in a living system.

  20. #20
    Yes, but where do those chemicals come from? More chemicals? Where do those come from?

    Eventually, you're going to get to an origional ingredient, and it's not going to be synthetic, unless it's made of synthetic elements. And even those are made from hitting natural elements together.

    But if you mean they aren't directly "natural," you are absolutely correct. I'm just trying to say that the definition of "natural" isn't clearly defined.

  21. #21
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    Well in that case everthing is natural
    But that really isn't the point. The 'natural' remedies and drugs are normally untested extracts that contain a wide array of compounds that may or may not help and have undergone minmal processing and have not undergone evaluation by a governing body(FDA in the states). In order to sell a synthetic chemical product such as an antibiotic it has to go through huge testing requirements to ensure safety while natural remedies don't. That is where the danger sneaks in is that there is no way to tell what the effects of the natural remedy may be. It could be good, bad, or ugly but you don't know since it has been properly evaluated. I say let people use all the natural products they want. If they die from the product or a dangerous interaction that is there responsibility since they were using an nonendorsed product that lacked the proper certification.

  22. #22
    True. Also, even with the same brand of natural remedies, the active percentage of active ingredients vary. Most are about as useful as placebos since trying to get the right dosage is absolutely impossible.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedgebert
    I figure if it doesn't require FDA approval, it must not do anything.
    Maybe you intended this as a joke, but if not, it's a dangerous misconception.

    A number of herbal remedies are quite active biologically. The reason they're not under FDA control is political, not scientific.

  24. #24
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    I think what Wedgebert meant is that they don't do anything good. Another way he could have said it is, 'If they don't require FDA approval, there is no point in taking them.'

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuffel999
    Errr...not all antibiotics are natural(also the definiton of antibiotic can be misleading). Some have natural analogs, some are natural but many of the new ones are synthesized completly in the lab from chemical stock. These antibiotics also tend ot have worse side effects though since they were never processed in a living system.
    Excuse me? On what evidence do you base this claim? As a health care provider who prescribes antibiotics, I can tell you that there is substantial evidence that your statement is incorrect.

    But, I am confused since your subsequent post seemed to say the opposite.

    Actually, except for the questionable content of unregulated dietary supplements as they are referred to to get around FDA regulation, some 'natural' products have been tested in reliable research settings.

    And, some products that have received FDA approval have been recalled after being released on the market.

    It isn't wise to assume new medical products are safe until they have been on the market long enough to complete testing. New drugs are better reserved for the patients who haven't responded to older drugs unless there are no alternatives.

    When a drug reaches the marketplace, it has been tested on a few hundred to a few thousand people. If the rate of severe side effects are 1 per 100,000 they do not show up until the drug is released.

    The guiding principle for all drugs, natural or not, is do the benefits out weigh the risks and costs? And reliable research is the way to determine that equation.

  26. #26
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    That which statement is wrong. Approximately 75% of antibiotics are natural(most coming from Streptomyces). Many of the remaining 25% are semisynthetic analogs and some are totally synthetic (for time sake I will lump the semisynthetic with the synthetic). Not all but many synthetic antibiotics have some rather nasty side effects and are drugs of last resort. The reason I said tha they are worse side effect wise since they weren't synthesized in vivo was becasue few originisms synthesize compounds that are so toxic in nature as some of the wonderful synthetic antibiotics we have developed. Some do but it doesn't happen that often. Humans on the other hand aren't that great at knowing exactly what this chemical is going to do in the wild (remeber these organisms have evolved in the presence of these compounds so the yhave tempered their toxicity so that they are not affected themselves) and then we run into all kinds of messy issues. Hey DDT kills bugs dead but uh oh it causes bald eagles to die from weak egg structure oops.
    To name a few of the synthetic/semi that are particularly nasty:
    Dapsone(sulfones in general), Ethambutol, Chloramphenicol, Clindamycin to name a few of the nasty ones. I can come up with more if I really think or I dig through my pharmacology texts :wink:

  27. #27
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    In reponse ot the rest of the post. Sure things get recalled after they have been approved all the time. It happens when better data becomes available. So that's life in science when better data comes along you have to reevaluate your original comclusion. I just find it telling that most of the so called natural remedies have never been approved by the FDA and a few have been banned or threatened (Ephedra anyone). As far as FDA approved drugs I wonder how many drugs are still in use now that would never have passed the current testing requirments. I would venture to say quite a few. Personally i hate taking any kind of medication. I am horrible about going to the doctor but I also don't get sick that often or if I do it never seems to be quite as bad when I do get sick maybe because I actually have an immune system unlike any people who panic kand run to the doctor every week. If you are never exposed to anything you never develop any resistancies. I mean sure i could go to the doctor for the flu also and get a freaking antibiotic simply because it will make me feel better psycologically (because the doctor gave me the magic pill I needed so bad) but it isn't going ot help me recover any faster and it will just contribute more to antibiotic resistant bacterial strains.

  28. #28
    My universitie's student health center atually does hagve some brains in giving out anti-biotics.

    I had the flu once (yes i get the flu shot every year, but with dozens of strains, it wont work every time) and i went to the center to just get checked out. They said right out that they will not give anti-biotics because it wouldn't work. I smiled and said "i am glad". I was hoping they wouldn't.

    So what shoudl we do? Should we pull all hebal remedies off the market and make them go throught testing? OR should we just have them put labels on saying all known sideeffects and drug interactions?

  29. #29
    Well if we want these things to be taken seriously, they need to be tested. If they don't work or are dangerous, pull 'em. If they work, regulate the actuve ingredients and list the percentages.

  30. #30
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    Not to bore everyone but....
    Med Clin North Am. 2001 Jan;85(1):149-85.
    Antibiotic side effects.

    Cunha BA.

    State University of New York School of Medicine, Stony Brook, USA.

    Antibiotic side effects are approached best from an individual agent perspective rather than from a class-related standpoint. As this article indicates, with the exception of drug fevers and drug rashes, most antibiotic side effects are related to individual agents and not class side effects. Clinicians should view antimicrobial side effects as related to each organ system and be aware that more often a nonmicrobial medication is the explanation for the drug side effect rather than the antimicrobial. Nonantimicrobial medications are the most common cause of drug fever; among antimicrobials, beta-lactams and sulfonamides are the most common causes of drug-induced fevers. Antimicrobial side effects have important implications for the patient, legal and economic implications for the hospital, and medicolegal implications for the physician. Antibiotic side effects that prolong hospitalization in today's managed care environment have important economic implications. Clinicians should be familiar with the most common side effects of the most frequently used antimicrobials, to minimize the potential of having adverse reactions occur in patients. Most adverse events related to antimicrobials are reversible rapidly on cessation of the medication. Irreversible toxicities include aminoglycoside-induced ototoxicity, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and toxicity secondary to nitrofurantoin. The most common acute fatal drug reactions include hypersensitivity reactions resulting in anaphylaxis or the Stevens-Johnson syndrome and fatal hepatic necrosis secondary to trovafloxacin. Clinicians should eliminate the use of drugs associated with chronic or fatal toxicities because multiple therapeutic alternatives exist for virtually every potential infection.

    Publication Types:
    Review
    Review, Tutorial

    PMID: 11190350 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    (emphasis mine)
    Tuffel, this is one of thousands of references I can find you supporting my statement that your generalization on antibiotic side effects was not correct.

    And as to new drugs on the market, it isn't exactly that better data comes along, though technically you could say that. The point is the problem of population size in the initial test groups of most drugs pre-market is an inherent problem. In other words, it is an expected problem and is always taken into account by a good medical provider.

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