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emilyrose's avatar

Is it bad to mix a bunch of herbal/ homeopathic remedies together?

Asked by emilyrose (2269points) July 21st, 2008

I feel myself getting sick and I am taking everything I can get my hands on. Ginger tea, throat coat tea, Lysine pills, homeopathic pills, chinese medicine pills, zinc lozenges (yes I have consumed all of those TODAY). My theory is that I don’t know what works so I try everything in hopes that something works. Am I making things worse?

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17 Answers

shilolo's avatar

Caveat empor…

Edit: As an example, Airborne (invented by a teacher so it must be good) was recently exposed as a scam. There are no studies of the rest. Ditch them all and get some hot soup and rest.

marinelife's avatar

When it comes to herbs, just because something is “natural” does not mean that it potential side effects or drug interactions. Herbs are drugs. Before taking anything herbal, you should check potential drug interactions with other herbal and other prescription and over-the-counter medications that you are taking.

You can do that by asking your pharmacist or, usually, by looking up drug interactions for each online.

Here is one example of the type of potential problems that you can encounter. One can often find echinacea together in a tincture or capsule with goldenseal. Unfortunately, goldenseal can raise blood pressure and should not be taken by people who are hypertensive.

Indiscriminately taking everything you can think of for any condition does not seem like a very good idea.

Hope you feel better.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Personally, I wouldn’t do that. I tend to be more on the “what I don’t know CAN hurt me” side of the coin.

I can’t say, “Yes” or “No” you’re making it worse or not, but some of combinations could be harmful, yes.

Here’s the thing about herbal supplements. Pharmeceutecals are derived from natural sources. Even if they’re made in a lab, they are often closely related to plants, herbs, etc. So, any herbal supplement contains one of two possibilities. 1. Substances that have little to no effect on the human body. OR 2. Substances that DO affect the human body much the same was that pharmeceutical drugs do.

The problem with this is that typically there have been no clinical tests to determine the correct dosage, possible drug interactions, or side effects.

While sometimes these are known, as with the example Marina gave, sometimes there are drug interactions or side effects that just are not known.

You say that when you feel yourself getting sick you take a lot of herbal remedies. From my point of view, I worry that these herbal remedies could do more harm than good, and then a temporary case of the common cold would not seem like such a big deal.

My personal response is to stay away from herbal remedies all together, but I know that many other people make different choices.

If you really believe in herbal remedies, and want to continue using them, I would at least talk with a licensed doctor or pharmacist before continuing.

mrjadkins's avatar

The best medicine is rest for a cold.

I found a multivitamin that is herbal that works great for me but it was only after testing so many an finding the one that works best…for me. That’s the key.

Some things work for some people. Other things work for others.

All I know is that for a cold – lots of bed rest works best.

I did get a Neti pot during my last cold and that was really helpful. VERY gross at first but the feeling afterward was really good. Google Neti Pot or you can watch a YouTube video on it.

PupnTaco's avatar

Go for it, they’re not going to do much anyway. ;)

tirithalui's avatar

Well in my experiance homeopathy is just a jacked up placebo.
In terms of herbs, be careful, don’t put yourself in danger.
Drink lots of water, have some soup, lie down, if you still feel sick after quite a few hours and it seems serious to you, contact your doctor.

gooch's avatar

I belive in herbal medicine but you must know what you are doing. You can overdose on herbs and you must be careful of herbal interactions. Some just don’t mix it can be very dangerous. Find a local herboligist or treater in your area. I have been treated numerous times succesfully by those who knew what they were doing.

syz's avatar

The idea that if something is “natural” then it can’t hurt you is a fallacy. Digitalis, for example, is a powerful heart drug that originally came from a plant.

You should not randomly injest any type of drug or treatment without doing some basic research.

emilyrose's avatar

lots of herbal medicine haters, eh? : ) I do go to an herbalist and I think she would probably tell me not to take everything at once. I don’t even know what I have. Just feel kinda crappy and sore throat.

shilolo's avatar

Emily, I have seen far too many bad reactions from “herbs” (which, as has been stated above, are a complex mix of chemicals) to support their use. If what you are feeling is a virus, then, barring it being influenza (for which there are mildly effective medicines), there is nothing you can do. An herbalist might give you something, and lo and behold, you feel better in 3 days, but frankly, you would feel better if you did nothing. I recommend the Jewish antibiotic, chicken soup. I’ll PM you my personal recipe, if you’d like.

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jvgr's avatar

In the end, pretty much everything is describable as a chemical or compounds of chemicals.
Some herbs are effective, as proven by scientific studies, most are not.
The only way to know if any given combination of things ingested is good or bad is to know what chemical reactions are going to take place

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justmesuzanne's avatar

Oh! On what you have taken today:

Ginger tea, throat coat tea, Lysine pills, homeopathic pills, Chinese medicine pills, zinc lozenges

You are fine with everything except the homeopathic pills and the Chinese medicine pills because each is probably made up of a combination of herbs and ingredients, so you don’t know what might react with what. I avoid combination herbal remedies because they are usually more expensive than straight herbs and essential oils and not as effective.

Ditch the Lysine and the combination pills. Make the tea I describe in my article. (You can do this by combining the ginger tea and the throat coat tea and adding echinacea tea.) Keep the zinc lozenges. Add 2000 mg of C and a B-50 daily on a padded stomach (toast, crackers, etc.) Drink plenty of pure water and 3–4 cups of the tea a day. Have chicken or veggie soup with lots of garlic! Stay home and rest until you are well.

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