'Natural' Doesn't Always Mean Safe
Fri Sep 24, 2004

(HealthDayNews) -- Don't assume that herbal health products are safer than other medicines just because they come from plants, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) says.

Although herbal products often are advertised as "natural," they aren't natural to the human body.

Unlike prescription drugs and other medicines, herbal products don't have to meet government approval standards before they can be sold. For one thing, they may not be pure, and may include plant derivatives that could make you sick.

Herbal products may be unsafe if you have certain health problems. Talk to your doctor before taking them if you have high blood pressure, thyroid or psychiatric problems, Parkinson's disease, an enlarged prostate, blood clotting problems, diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, a history of stroke or liver problems, the AAFP says.