Sunday, July 8, 2012

LIST OF POPULAR HERBAL ADVERSE EFFECTS

1   Dong quai Side Effects & Safety
Dong quai is POSSIBLY SAFE for adults when taken by mouth and when occasionally applied to the skin as an ingredient in a cream. More evidence is needed to determine its safety after prolonged or repeated use.

Dong quai can cause skin to become extra-sensitive to the sun. This might put you at greater risk for skin cancer. Wear sun block outside, especially if you are light-skinned.

Taking dong quai in large amounts for a long period of time is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Dong quai contains chemicals that are considered to be cancer-causing (carcinogens).

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking dong quai by mouth during pregnancy is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for the baby. Dong quai seems to affect the muscles of the uterus. There is also one report linking an herbal combination that contained dong quai with birth defects in a baby whose mother took the combination during the first three months of pregnancy. Don’t use dong quai if you are pregnant.

There isn’t enough information about the safety of using dong quai during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don’t use it.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Dong quai might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use dong quai.

Protein S deficiency: People with protein S deficiency have an increased risk of forming blood clots. There is some concern that dong quai might increase the risk of clot formation in these people because it has some of the effects of estrogen. Don’t use dong quai if you have protein S deficiency.

Surgery: Dong quai can slow blood clotting. It might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking dong quai at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



 Possible Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Dong quai should not be used by people with bleeding disorders, excessive menstrual bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, or during infections such as colds and flu. Call your health practitioner if you experience bleeding, unusual bruising, diarrhea, or fever.
Dong quai may contain estrogen-like compounds and should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with breast cancer.
People taking blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as warfarin should not use Dong quai.
Dong quai should not be used during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. It should also not be used during breast-feeding.
Dong quai can cause photosensitivity, so people should limit sun exposure and wear sunblock.

Adverse effects in Wikipedia

A. sinensis contains chemicals that are carcinogens.[4] 
It can cause skin to become extra-sensitive to the sun leading to a greater risk for skin cancer.[4] 
There is one case report of gynaecomastia following consumption of Dong Quai root powder pills.[5]
It prolongs INR.[clarification needed] 

VALERIAN Side Effects & Safety
Valerian is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in medicinal amounts short-term. Clinical studies have reported safe use of valerian for medicinal purposes in over 12,000 people in trials lasting up to 28 days. The safety of long-term use is unknown. Some information suggests that valerian might also be safe when taken by children for 4-8 weeks.

Valerian can cause some side effects such as headache, excitability, uneasiness, and even insomnia in some people. A few people feel sluggish in the morning after taking valerian, especially at higher doses. It’s best not to drive or operate dangerous machinery after taking valerian. The long-term safety of valerian is unknown. To avoid possible side effects when discontinuing valerian after long-term use, it's best to reduce the dose slowly over a week or two before stopping completely.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: There isn’t enough information about the safety of valerian during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Surgery
: Valerian slows down the central nervous system. Anesthesia and other medications used during surgery also affect the central nervous system. The combined effects might be harmful. Stop taking valerian at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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LICORICE Side Effects & Safety
Licorice is LIKELY SAFE for most people when consumed in amounts found in foods. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when consumed in larger amounts use as medicine, short-term. However, it is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in large amounts for more than four weeks. Consuming 30 grams or more of licorice daily for several weeks can cause severe side effects including high blood pressure, low potassium in the blood, weakness, paralysis, and occasionally brain damage in otherwise healthy people. In people who eat a lot of salt or have heart disease, kidney disease, or high blood pressure, as little as 5 grams per day can cause these problems.

Other side effects of licorice use include tiredness, absence of a menstrual period in women, headache, water and sodium retention, and decreased sexual interest and function in men.

People who chew tobacco flavored with licorice might develop high blood pressure and other serious side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to take licorice by mouth if you are pregnant. It might cause a miscarriage or early delivery. Not enough is known about the safety of licorice during breast-feeding. Don’t use licorice if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

High blood pressure: Licorice can raise blood pressure. Don’t consume large amounts of it if you have high blood pressure.

Heart disease: Licorice can cause the body to store water, and this can make congestive heart failure worse. Licorice can also increase the risk of irregular heartbeat. Don’t consume licorice if you have heart disease.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Licorice might act like estrogen in the body. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use licorice.

A muscle condition caused by nerve problems (hypertonia): Licorice can cause the level of potassium to drop in the blood. This can make hypertonia worse. Avoid licorice if you have hypertonia.

Low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia): Licorice can lower potassium in the blood. If your potassium is already low, licorice might make it too low. Don’t use licorice if you have this condition.

Sexual problems in men: Licorice can lower a man’s interest in sex and also worsen erectile dysfunction (ED) by lowering levels of a hormone called testosterone.

Kidney disease: Overuse of licorice could make kidney disease worse. Don’t use it.

Surgery: Licorice might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop taking licorice at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
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Guarana Side Effects & Safety
Guarana is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when used in typical food amounts or in medicinal amounts short-term. But it is LIKELY UNSAFE and even deadly, due to its caffeine content, when taken in high doses or long-term. The fatal dose of caffeine is estimated to be 10-14 grams (150-200 mg per kilogram; the “typical” man weighs about 70 kilograms, so a lethal dose of caffeine for this man would be 10,500-14,000 mg). This is quite a high dose. Consider that one cup of brewed coffee provides from 95-200 mg of caffeine. However, serious poisoning can occur at doses lower than 150-200 mg per kilogram depending on an individual’s caffeine sensitivity or smoking behavior, age, and prior caffeine use.

Side effects depend on the dose. At typical doses, the caffeine in guarana can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate and blood pressure, rapid breathing, tremors, delirium, diuresis, and other side effects. Large guarana doses might cause headache, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, pain when urinating, stomach cramps, and irregular heartbeats. People who take guarana regularly may experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms if they reduce their usual amount.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, guarana should be taken with caution due to the caffeine content. Small amounts are probably not harmful; however, consuming more than 200 mg/day has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and other negative effects.

Anxiety
: The caffeine in guarana might make feelings of anxiety worse.

Bleeding disorders
: There is some evidence from animal research suggesting that the caffeine in guarana might make bleeding disorders worse, although this hasn’t been reported in people. If you have a bleeding disorder, check with your healthcare provider before starting guarana.

Diabetes
: Some research suggests that the caffeine in guarana may affect the way people with diabetes process sugar (glucose) and may complicate blood sugar control. There is also some interesting research that suggests caffeine may enhance the warning symptoms of low blood sugar in patients with type 1 diabetes. Some studies show that the symptoms of low blood sugar are more intense when they start in the absence of caffeine, but as low blood sugar continues, symptoms are greater with caffeine. This might increase the ability of diabetic patients to detect and treat low blood sugar. However, the downside is that caffeine might actually increase the number of low-sugar episodes. If you have diabetes, talk with your healthcare provider before starting guarana.

Diarrhea
. Guarana contains caffeine. The caffeine in guarana, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome
(IBS): Guarana contains caffeine. The caffeine in guarana, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.

Heart disease
: The caffeine in guarana might cause irregular heartbeat in certain people. Use with caution.

High blood pressure
: Taking guarana might raise blood pressure in people with high blood pressure due to its caffeine content. However, this effect might be less in people who are regular coffee-drinkers or otherwise use caffeine on a regular basis.

Glaucoma
: The caffeine in guarana increases the pressure inside the eye. The increase occurs within 30 minutes and lasts for at least 90 minutes after drinking caffeinated beverages.

Osteoporosis
: The caffeine in guarana can flush calcium out of the body through the kidneys. This calcium loss might help to weaken bones. To minimize this problem, don’t use more than 300 mg of caffeine per day. Taking calcium supplements may also help to offset these calcium losses. Postmenopausal women who have a genetic problem that affects how vitamin D is used by the body should use caffeine with caution.

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Caffeine Side Effects & Safety
Caffeine is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when used appropriately. Caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate and respiration, and other side effects. Caffeine can make sleep disorders in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) worse. Larger doses might cause headache, anxiety, agitation, chest pain, and ringing in the ears.

Large doses may be UNSAFE and can cause irregular heartbeats and even death.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Caffeine is POSSIBLY SAFE in pregnant or breast-feeding women in daily amounts of less than 200 mg. This is about the amount in 1-2 cups of coffee. Consuming larger amounts during pregnancy might increase the chance of miscarriage and other problems. Caffeine passes into breast milk, so nursing mothers should closely monitor caffeine intake to make sure it is on the low side. Caffeine in large amounts is POSSIBLY UNSAFE during breast-feeding. Caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, irritability, and increased bowel activity in breast-fed infants.

Anxiety disorders
: Caffeine might make these conditions worse. Use with care.

Bipolar disorder
: Too much caffeine might make this condition worse. In one case, a 36-year-old man with controlled bipolar disorder was hospitalized with symptoms of mania after drinking several cans of an energy drink containing caffeine, taurine, inositol, and other ingredients (Red Bull Energy Drink) over a period of 4 days. Use caffeine with care and in low amounts if you have bipolar disorder.

Bleeding disorders
: There is concern that caffeine might aggravate bleeding disorders. Use caffeine with care if you have a bleeding disorder.

Heart conditions
: Caffeine can cause irregular heartbeat in sensitive people. Use caffeine with caution.

Diabetes
: Some research suggests that caffeine may affect the way the body uses sugar and might worsen diabetes. But the effect of caffeinated beverages and herbs has not been studied. If you have diabetes, use caffeine with caution.

Diarrhea
: Caffeine, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
: Caffeine, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.

Glaucoma
: Caffeine increases the pressure inside the eye. The increase occurs within 30 minutes and lasts for at least 90 minutes after drinking caffeinated beverages.

High blood pressure
: Consuming caffeine might increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, this effect might be less in people who use caffeine regularly.

Weak bones (osteoporosis)
: Caffeine can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine. If you have osteoporosis or low bone density, caffeine should be limited to less than 300 mg per day (approximately 2-3 cups of coffee). It’s also a good idea to get extra calcium to make up for the amount that may be lost in the urine. Older women with an inherited disorder that affects the way vitamin D is used should use caffeine with caution. Vitamin D works with calcium to build bones.
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GINSENG PANAX (GINSENG, PANAX) Side Effects & Safety
Panax ginseng is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for most adults when used for less than 3 months. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken long-term. Researchers think it may have some hormone-like effects that could be harmful with prolonged use.

The most common side effect is trouble sleeping (insomnia). Less commonly, people experience menstrual problems, breast pain, increased heart rate, high or low blood pressure, headache, loss of appetite, diarrhea, itching, rash, dizziness, mood changes, vaginal bleeding, and other side effects.

Uncommon side effects that have been reported include severe rash called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, liver damage, and severe allergic reactions.

A cream (SS-Cream) containing Panax ginseng and other ingredients for reaching orgasm too quickly in men (premature ejaculation) seems to be safe when applied to the penis and removed after one hour. It might cause mild pain and irritation or a burning sensation. It is not known if this cream is safe with repeated, long-term use.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not use Panax ginseng if you are pregnant. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. One of the chemicals in Panax ginseng has been found to cause birth defects in animals.

Not enough is known about the safety of Panax ginseng during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don’t use it.

Infants and children
: Panax ginseng is LIKELY UNSAFE in infants and children. Using Panax ginseng in babies has been linked to poisoning that can be fatal. The safety of Panax ginseng in older children is not known. Until more is known, don’t use Panax ginseng even in older children.

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions
: Panax ginseng seems to increase the activity of the immune system. It might make auto-immune diseases worse. Don’t use Panax ginseng if you have any auto-immune condition.

Bleeding conditions
: Ginseng seems to interfere with blood clotting. Don’t use Panax ginseng if you have a bleeding condition.

Heart conditions
: Panax ginseng can affect heart rhythm and blood pressure slightly on the first day it is used. However, there are usually no changes with continued use. Nevertheless, Panax ginseng has not been studied in people with cardiovascular disease. Use Panax ginseng with caution if you have heart disease.

Diabetes
: Panax ginseng might lower blood sugar. In people with diabetes who are taking medications to lower blood sugar, adding Panax ginseng might lower it too much. Monitor your blood sugar closely if you have diabetes and use Panax ginseng.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids
: Panax ginseng contains chemicals (ginsenosides) that can act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use Panax ginseng.

Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
: High doses of Panax ginseng have been linked with insomnia. If you have trouble sleeping, use Panax ginseng with caution.

Schizophrenia (a mental disorder)
: High doses of Panax ginseng have been linked with sleep problems and agitation in people with schizophrenia. Be careful when using Panax ginseng if you have schizophrenia.

Organ transplant
: Panax ginseng might make the immune system more active. This could interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are given after an organ transplant to reduce the chance that the organ will be rejected. If you have received an organ transplant, don’t use Panax ginseng.

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GINKGO Side Effects & Safety
Ginkgo LEAF EXTRACT is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth for most people. It can cause some minor side effects such as stomach upset, headache, dizziness, constipation, forceful heartbeat, and allergic skin reactions.

Ginkgo fruit and pulp can cause severe allergic skin reactions and irritation of mucous membranes. Ginkgo might cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, mango rind, or cashew shell oil.

There is some concern that ginkgo leaf extract might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Ginkgo thins the blood and decreases its ability to form clots. A few people taking ginkgo have had bleeding into the eye and into the brain, and excessive bleeding following surgery. Ginkgo leaf extract can cause allergic skin reactions in some people.

The ROASTED SEED or crude ginkgo plant is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. Eating more than 10 roasted seeds per day can cause difficulty breathing, weak pulse, seizures, loss of consciousness, and shock. The FRESH SEED is even more dangerous. Fresh seeds are poisonous, and eating them could cause seizures and death.

Not enough is known about the safety of ginkgo when applied to the skin to determine if it is safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Ginkgo is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used during pregnancy. It might cause early labor or extra bleeding during delivery if used near that time. Not enough is known about the safety of using ginkgo during breast-feeding. Don’t use ginkgo if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Children: Ginkgo leaf extract is POSSIBLY SAFE. Some research suggests that a specific combination of ginkgo leaf extract plus American ginseng might be safe in children when used short-term. Don’t let children eat the ginkgo seed. It is UNSAFE.

Diabetes: Ginkgo might interfere with the management of diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely.

Seizures: There is a concern that ginkgo might cause seizures. If you have ever had a seizure, don’t use ginkgo.

Infertility: Ginkgo use might interfere with getting pregnant. Discuss your use of ginkgo with your healthcare provider if you are trying to get pregnant.

Bleeding disorders: Ginkgo might make bleeding disorders worse. If you have a bleeding disorder, don’t use ginkgo.

Surgery: Ginkgo might slow blood clotting. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using ginkgo at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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 SIDE EFFECT OF KAVA KAVA  Side Effects & Safety

KAVA Side Effects & Safety
Kava is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. Don’t use it. Serious illness, including liver damage, has occurred even with short-term use of normal doses. The use of kava for as little as one to three months has resulted in the need for liver transplants, and even death. Early symptoms of liver damage include yellowed eyes and skin (jaundice), fatigue, and dark urine. If you decide to take kava, despite warnings to the contrary, be sure to get frequent liver function tests.

Using kava can make you unable to drive or operate machinery safely. Do not take kava before you plan on driving. "Driving-under-the-influence" citations have been issued to people driving erratically after drinking large amounts of kava tea.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don’t use kava if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Kava is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. There is a concern that it might affect the uterus. Also, some of the dangerous chemicals in kava can pass into breast milk and might hurt a breast-fed infant.

Depression
: Kava use might make depression worse.

Liver problems
: Kava is hard on the liver, even healthy ones. Taking kava if you already have liver disease is taking a risk.

Surgery
: Kava affects the central nervous system. It might increase the effects of anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery. Stop using kava at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
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Ashwagandha Side Effects & Safety

Ashwagandha is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth short-term. The long-term safety of ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.

It’s not known whether it’s safe to apply ashwagandha directly to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not use ashwagandha if you are pregnant. It is rated LIKELY UNSAFE during pregnancy. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might cause miscarriages. Not enough is known about the use of ashwagandha during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Stomach ulcers: Ashwagandha can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Don’t use ashwagandha if you have a stomach ulcer.

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Ashwagandha might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using ashwagandha.

Surgery: Ashwagandha may slow down the central nervous system. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect. Stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
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SIDE EFFECT OF BLACK COHOSH

BLACK COHOSH Side Effects & Safety
Black cohosh is POSSIBLY SAFE when used appropriately by adults.

Black cohosh can cause some mild side effects such as stomach upset, cramping, headache, rash, a feeling of heaviness, vaginal spotting or bleeding, and weight gain.

There is also some concern that black cohosh may be associated with liver damage. It is not known for sure if black cohosh actually causes liver damage. Researchers are studying this. Until more is known, people who take black cohosh should watch for symptoms of liver damage. Some symptoms that may suggest liver damage are yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), unusual fatigue, or dark urine. If these symptoms develop, black cohosh should be stopped and a health provider should be contacted. People who take black cohosh should talk with their health provider about getting tests to make sure their liver is working well.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Black cohosh is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Since black cohosh acts somewhat like a female hormone it might increase the risk of miscarriage.

Breast cancer: There is some concern that black cohosh might worsen existing breast cancer. Women who have breast cancer or who have had breast cancer in the past, and women at high-risk for breast cancer, should avoid black cohosh.

Endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and other hormone-sensitive conditions: Black cohosh acts somewhat like the female hormone, estrogen, in the body. There is some concern that it could worsen conditions that are sensitive to female hormones. Do not take black cohosh if you have a condition that could be affected by female hormones. These conditions include ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, and other conditions.

Liver disease: Some reports suggest that black cohosh might cause liver damage. It is not known for sure if black cohosh is the cause of liver damage in these cases. Until more is known, people with liver disease should avoid taking black cohosh.

Kidney transplant: Taking a product containing black cohosh plus alfalfa has been linked to a report of kidney transplant rejection. It is not known if black cohosh is the cause of this rejection. Until more is known, people who have received a transplant should avoid black cohosh.

Protein S deficiency: People with a condition called protein S deficiency have an increased risk of blood clots. Due to the hormone-like effects of black cohosh, there is some concern that black cohosh might also increase the risk of blood clots. There is a report linking blood clots in someone with protein S deficiency after taking black cohosh along with several other herbal products. Until more is known, people with protein S deficiency should avoid black cohosh.
 
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 Magnesium is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth or when the prescription-only, injectable product is used correctly. In some people, magnesium might cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other side effects.

Doses less than 350 mg per day are safe for most adults. When taken in very large amounts, magnesium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Large doses might cause too much magnesium to build up in the body, causing serious side effects including an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma, and death.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Magnesium is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant or breast-feeding women when taken by mouth in the amounts recommended. These amounts depend on the age of the woman. Check with your healthcare provider to find out what amounts are right for you.

Heart block
: High doses of magnesium (typically delivered by IV) should not be given to people with heart block.

Kidney problems, such as kidney failure
: Kidneys that don’t work well have trouble clearing magnesium from the body. Taking extra magnesium can cause magnesium to build up to dangerous levels. Don’t take magnesium if you have kidney problems.

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HORSETAIL Side Effects & Safety
Horsetail is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth long-term. It contains a chemical called thiaminase that breaks down the vitamin thiamine, possibly leading to thiamine deficiency. Some products are labeled "thiaminase-free," but there's not enough information available to know if these products are safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of horsetail during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes
: Horsetail might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use horsetail.

Low potassium levels (hypokalemia)
: Horsetail might flush potassium out of the body, possibly leading to potassium levels that are too low. Until more is known, use horsetail with caution if you are at risk for potassium deficiency.

Low thiamine levels (thiamine deficiency)
: There is a concern that horsetail could make thiamine deficiency worse.


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SARSAPARILLA Side Effects & Safety
Sarsaparilla seems safe for most people when used as a medicine. It might cause stomach irritation, especially when used in larger amounts.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of sarsaparilla during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Asthma
: Exposure to sarsaparilla root dust can cause runny nose and the symptoms of asthma.

Kidney disease
: Sarsaparilla might make kidney disease worse. Avoid sarsaparilla if you have kidney problems.
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Passionflower Side Effects & Safety
Passionflower is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in amounts normally found in food. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken short-term (less than one month) as medicine. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts.

Passionflower can cause some side effects such as dizziness, confusion, irregular muscle action and coordination, altered consciousness, and inflamed blood vessels. There has also been a report of nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, a rapid heart rate, and abnormal heart rhythm in one person who took it.

There isn’t enough information to rate the safety of passionflower when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don’t take passionflower if you are pregnant. It is UNSAFE. There are some chemicals in passionflower that might cause the uterus to contract.

Not enough is known about the safety of taking passionflower during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don’t use it.

Surgery: Passionflower can affect the central nervous system. It might increase the effects of anesthesia and other medications on the brain during and after surgery. Stop taking passionflower at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
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Echinacea is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used short-term. There is not enough information to know if echinacea is safe for long-term use. Some side effects have been reported such as fever, nausea, vomiting, unpleasant taste, stomach pain, diarrhea, sore throat, dry mouth, headache, numbness of the tongue, dizziness, insomnia, disorientation, and joint and muscle aches.

Echinacea is POSSIBLY SAFE in children aged 2-11 when used for up to 10 days. But some children might develop a rash.

Echinacea can cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are allergic to ragweed, mums, marigolds, or daisies. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking echinacea.

Applying echinacea to the skin can cause redness, itchiness, or a rash.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of echinacea during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

“Auto-immune disorders” such as such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a skin disorder called pemphigus vulgaris, or others: Echinacea might have an effect on the immune system that could make these conditions worse. Don’t take echinacea if you have an auto-immune disorder.

An inherited tendency toward allergies (atopy): People with this condition are more likely to develop an allergic reaction to echinacea. It’s best to avoid exposure to echinacea if you have this condition.
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Guarana is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when used in typical food amounts or in medicinal amounts short-term. But it is LIKELY UNSAFE and even deadly, due to its caffeine content, when taken in high doses or long-term. The fatal dose of caffeine is estimated to be 10-14 grams (150-200 mg per kilogram; the “typical” man weighs about 70 kilograms, so a lethal dose of caffeine for this man would be 10,500-14,000 mg). This is quite a high dose. Consider that one cup of brewed coffee provides from 95-200 mg of caffeine. However, serious poisoning can occur at doses lower than 150-200 mg per kilogram depending on an individual’s caffeine sensitivity or smoking behavior, age, and prior caffeine use.

Side effects depend on the dose. At typical doses, the caffeine in guarana can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate and blood pressure, rapid breathing, tremors, delirium, diuresis, and other side effects. Large guarana doses might cause headache, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, pain when urinating, stomach cramps, and irregular heartbeats. People who take guarana regularly may experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms if they reduce their usual amount.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, guarana should be taken with caution due to the caffeine content. Small amounts are probably not harmful; however, consuming more than 200 mg/day has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and other negative effects.

Anxiety
: The caffeine in guarana might make feelings of anxiety worse.

Bleeding disorders
: There is some evidence from animal research suggesting that the caffeine in guarana might make bleeding disorders worse, although this hasn’t been reported in people. If you have a bleeding disorder, check with your healthcare provider before starting guarana.

Diabetes
: Some research suggests that the caffeine in guarana may affect the way people with diabetes process sugar (glucose) and may complicate blood sugar control. There is also some interesting research that suggests caffeine may enhance the warning symptoms of low blood sugar in patients with type 1 diabetes. Some studies show that the symptoms of low blood sugar are more intense when they start in the absence of caffeine, but as low blood sugar continues, symptoms are greater with caffeine. This might increase the ability of diabetic patients to detect and treat low blood sugar. However, the downside is that caffeine might actually increase the number of low-sugar episodes. If you have diabetes, talk with your healthcare provider before starting guarana.

Diarrhea
. Guarana contains caffeine. The caffeine in guarana, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
: Guarana contains caffeine. The caffeine in guarana, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.

Heart disease
: The caffeine in guarana might cause irregular heartbeat in certain people. Use with caution.

High blood pressure
: Taking guarana might raise blood pressure in people with high blood pressure due to its caffeine content. However, this effect might be less in people who are regular coffee-drinkers or otherwise use caffeine on a regular basis.

Glaucoma
: The caffeine in guarana increases the pressure inside the eye. The increase occurs within 30 minutes and lasts for at least 90 minutes after drinking caffeinated beverages.

Osteoporosis
: The caffeine in guarana can flush calcium out of the body through the kidneys. This calcium loss might help to weaken bones. To minimize this problem, don’t use more than 300 mg of caffeine per day. Taking calcium supplements may also help to offset these calcium losses. Postmenopausal women who have a genetic problem that affects how vitamin D is used by the body should use caffeine with caution.
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Milk thistle Side Effects & Safety
Milk thistle is LIKELY SAFE for most adults. Milk thistle sometimes causes a laxative effect. Other less common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, intestinal gas, bloating, fullness or pain, and loss of appetite.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of milk thistle during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants
: Milk thistle may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking milk thistle.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids
: Extracts from milk thistle PLANT might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use these extracts. In contrast, the more commonly used milk thistle SEED extracts do not seem to act like estrogen.

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EPHEDRA Side Effects & Safety
Don’t take products that contain ephedra or its active ingredients. It is LIKELY UNSAFE for adults and children. Ephedra can cause severe life-threatening or disabling conditions in some people. Ephedra use is linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, muscle disorders, seizures, strokes, irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness, and death. These side effects might be more likely if ephedra is used in high doses or long-term. Doses greater than 32 mg per day might more than triple the risk for bleeding within the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). The risk for serious side effects seems to be greater than any potential benefit. Ephedra is banned in the U.S.

Ephedra can also cause less serious side effects including dizziness, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, heart pounding, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and others.

Do not use ephedra with other stimulants such as caffeine. This might increase the chance of having side effects, including life-threatening ones. Sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, kola nut, guarana, and mate.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Ephedra is LIKELY UNSAFE. Ephedra has been linked to several cases of severe side effects. Don’t use it.

Chest pain
(angina): Ephedra can stimulate the heart and this could make chest pain worse. Don’t use it.

Irregular heartbeat or long QT interval syndrome
: Ephedra can stimulate the heart and might make irregular heartbeat worse. Don’t use it.

Anxiety
: Large doses of ephedra might make anxiety worse. Don’t use it.

Diabetes
: Ephedra might interfere with blood sugar control, and could raise high blood pressure and increase circulation problems in people with diabetes. Don’t use it.

A movement disorder called essential tremor
: Ephedra might make essential tremor worse. Don’t use it.

High blood pressure
: Ephedra might make high blood pressure worse. Don’t use it.

Overactive
thyroid and related conditions: Ephedra might stimulate the thyroid and make the symptoms of overactive thyroid worse. Don’t use it.

Kidney stones
: Ephedra and its active ingredient ephedrine can cause kidney stones. Don’t use ephedra or ephedrine.

Narrow-angle
glaucoma: Ephedra might make this condition worse. Don’t use it.

An adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma)
: Ephedra might make the symptoms of this condition worse. Don’t use it.

Seizure disorders
: Ephedra might bring on a seizure or make one worse in some people who are prone to seizures. Of the 33 cases of seizures reported to the FDA over 7 years that were linked to dietary supplements, 27 cases involved ephedra.
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Green tea Side Effects & Safety
Green tea is LIKELY SAFE for most adults. Green tea extract is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people for short-term use. In some people, green tea can cause stomach upset and constipation. Green tea extracts have been reported to cause liver problems in rare cases.

Too much green tea — more than five cups per day, for example — is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. It can cause side effects because of the caffeine. These side effects can range from mild to serious and include headache, nervousness, sleep problems, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, irregular heartbeat, tremor, heartburn, dizziness, ringing in the ears, convulsions, and confusion. Green tea seems to reduce the absorption of iron from food. Drinking very high doses of green tea can actually be fatal. The fatal dose of caffeine in green tea is estimated to be 10-14 grams (150-200 mg per kilogram). Serious toxicity can occur at lower doses.

Caffeine is POSSIBLY SAFE in children in amounts commonly found in foods.

Green tea interacts with many medications, as explained below.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, green tea in small amounts is POSSIBLY SAFE. Do not drink more than 2 cups a day of green tea. This amount of tea provides about 200 mg of caffeine. Consuming more than this amount has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and other negative effects. Caffeine passes into breast milk and can affect a nursing infant. Don’t drink an excessive amount of green tea if you are breast-feeding.

“Tired blood” (anemia)
: Drinking green tea may make anemia worse.

Anxiety disorders
: The caffeine in green tea might make anxiety worse.

Bleeding disorders
: Caffeine might increase the risk of bleeding. Don’t drink green tea if you have a bleeding disorder.

Heart conditions
: Caffeine in green tea might cause irregular heartbeat.

Diabetes
: Caffeine might affect blood sugar control. If you drink green tea and have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Diarrhea. Green tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in green tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
: Green tea contains caffeine. The caffeine in green tea, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea and might worsen symptoms of IBS.

Glaucoma
: Drinking green tea increases pressure inside the eye. The increase occurs within 30 minutes and lasts for at least 90 minutes.

High blood pressure
: The caffeine in green tea might increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, this does not seem to occur in people who regularly drink green tea or other products that contain caffeine.

Liver disease
: Green tea extract supplements have been linked to several cases of liver damage. Green tea extracts might make liver disease worse.

Weak bones (osteoporosis)
: Drinking green tea can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine. Caffeine should be limited to less than 300 mg per day (approximately 2-3 cups of green tea). It is possible to make up for some calcium loss caused by caffeine by taking calcium supplements.
 

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