Herbs to Avoid Before and After Surgery
According to Jessie M. Leak, M.D., herbal remedies may interfere with how anesthesia works, as well as affect how your body reacts during the operation. (For example, blood clotting and heart rate may be affected.) Leak says that St. John's Wort may intensify the effects of some anesthetic drugs, while ginkgo biloba and feverfew may interfere with the blood-clotting process, causing you to bleed more than usual and increasing the odds that you'll need a blood transfusion.
Leak adds that Korean, American and Chinese ginseng may also lead to complications. (Siberian ginseng gets a clean bill of health.) These three ginsengs can elevate blood pressure and heart rate, thereby upping the risk of heart attack.
Along with informing your physician and anesthesiologist of every herb, supplement and drug you've been taking regularly, you should stop consuming herbs at least two weeks before surgery because that's typically the time it takes for prescription drugs to leave the body.
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Concerned about the safety of your herbal remedies? Get the facts about dosage, interactions and side effects.