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We reveal health secrets your doctor and the government don’t want you to know about!
DISCLAIMER: Important Legal Notice


Nutritional Supplement
Cautions

The cautions listed on this page should not be considered as complete or all-inclusive. Before deciding to use any herbal product, or especially before combining herbal products with prescription medications, you should consult your health care professional or pharmacist for possible contraindications, or consult one of the numerous excellent consumer guides to natural health, such as Prescription for Nutritional Healing, The Alternative Advisor, or PDR for Herbal Medicine.

Quality and Labeling PracticesHerbs During PregnancySpecific Product Cautions

Not all food supplements are created equal.

Don’t be deceived by “bargain” vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other food supplements. There are virtually no government standards or regulations on the food supplement industry, and product labeling practices are so loose that the consumer may be easily deceived.

For example, one the of our natural health practice complained to us that a bottle of “St. John’s Wort” that she had purchased at a nationally-known nutritional products chain store did not seem to be working well for her. When we asked her why she had purchased that particular product, she said that the price was considerably less than the price of our St. John’s Wort product. We asked to see the bottle, and were amazed when we read the label. Though the product was called “St. John’s Wort,” the primary ingredient was listed as talc (that’s right, talcum powder!), and there was absolutely no St. John’s Wort listed anywhere on the product’s list of ingredients. She got about what she paid for.

Click here for more information on herbal product labeling.

Herbs During Pregnancy

Most herbs can be taken throughout pregnancy with no ill effects. Many herbs are helpful during pregnancy, especially just before childbirth. Helpful herbs would include those to alleviate nausea, morning sickness, pain, and the like. However, there are some herbs that should be used cautiously during pregnancy, and other herbs that should be completely avoided during pregnancy.

Specific Product Cautions and Contraindications

Aloe Vera: Laxative in nature and should be used sparingly or in combinations during pregnancy.

Angelica: Should not be used during pregnancy; can cause uterine contractions.

Arnica: External use only for lower cholesterol, emotional shocks, electrical shock, sprains, bumps, pain, tooth pain.

Astragalus: Immune system builder. Do not use in cases of heat stroke, acute asthma, or in the early stages of influenza.

Barberry: Laxative in nature and should be used sparingly or in combinations during pregnancy.

Bayberry: Liquefy and drain sinuses, shrink and dissolve polyps of all kinds. Avoid in cases of acute diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, or other inflammatory conditions.

Bee Pollen: Energy, hormonal support, low blood sugar, longevity, solar plexus, polarity balancer, important for lysine, protein, B-Complex. Adults with allergies should start with small amounts and increase gradually.

Black Cohosh: Female estrogen hormone source, menopause, over aggressive men, poisonous bites, spiders, mosquito bites, strings, snake bites, chills, fever, sluggish feeling, important poison antidote, hives, spinal meningitis. Use cautiously and as suggested. Large amounts can cause headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, joint pains, and depressed heart rate. Do not use if pregnant, congestive heart failure, or peptic ulcers. Avoid if using standard (not herbal) hormone replacement therapy. use only the final weeks of pregnancy; will enhances menstrual flow and stimulates uterine contractions and/or induces labor.

Buckthorn: Laxative in nature and should be used sparingly or in combinations during pregnancy.

Burdock: Liver, skin, boils, acne, carry dead cells out of the body. Use sparingly if pregnant.

Capsicum: Use as a catalyst to enhance the effectiveness of other supplements. Stop unnatural bleeding, prevents strokes, stop heart attacks, stomach ulcers, mucus, nerves, anxiety, energy, blood clots, hemorrhoids, stops hemorrhage during period. Not suggested for people who consume a high-fat or low-protein diet. May interfere with MAO inhibitors and those taking high blood pressure medications.

Cascara Sagrada: Excellent laxative, non habit forming, tones lazy bowel, encourage bile flow, expels and dissolves gall stone. Should be used very sparingly or in combinations during pregnancy. However, nursing mothers can take cascara and pass this laxative action to their children if constipated. Do not use if there is colitis or inflamed bowel. Long-term use may result in a loss of potassium unless a potassium supplement is also taken.

Celandine: External use only, diuretic, bowel purge, rheumatism, gout, liver, swelling of the gall bladder, sedative.

Chinese Ephedra: (Try Bitter Orange instead) also known as ma huang, raises heart rate and blood pressure, promotes perspiration, and stimulates adrenal function. Ma huang is not recommended for individuals suffering from glaucoma, high blood pressure, or hyperthyroidism, for pregnant women, or for those taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or St. John's Wort. As of March 1, 2004, the FDA has prohibited the sale of ephedra-containing products, but only by herbal supplement manufacturers. Pharmaceutical companies and other companies that do not specifically sell herbal supplements are still permitted to sell ephedra (like at mini-marts or truck stops). Click here for more information.

Cinchona: Cinchona and its alkaloids should be avoided in pregnancies because of their oxytocic effects.

Coffee: Should not be used during pregnancy, as it irritates the uterus; excessive amounts in some sensitive individuals can cause premature birth or miscarriage.

Coltsfoot (Wild Ginger): An emmenagogue that causes uterine contractions; should not be used during pregnancy.

Damiana: Both genders sexual stimulant, frigidity, repair severed nerves, restore feeling to tips of body, hot flashes. May interfere with iron absorption. Do not use if pregnant or if there is urinary system infection.

Dandelion Leaf: High in vegetable source vitamin A (non-harmful type), potassium, skin, sinus. Avoid in cases acute diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, or other inflammatory conditions.

Dandelion Root: Mineral storehouse, organic iron, sodium, sulfur and others, joints, stomach, liver cleaner, skin disorders. Avoid in cases acute diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, or other inflammatory conditions.

Dong Quai: “Female herb” especially for women of child bearing age, regulates estrogen levels, alleviate blood clots, menstrual cramping. Do not use during pregnancy or if there is abdominal inflammation. Do not use with blood-thinning medications.

Echinacea: Antibiotic, chronic conditions, cysts on body and around tooth root, give with laxative if dissolving growth of cyst, raises immunity. Avoid Nizoral and immune-suppressing drugs such as Cyclosporine. Avoid if there lupus, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, or AIDS.

Ephedra: See Chinese Ephedra; try Bitter Orange instead.

Eucalyptus (Oil or Extract): This should be avoided (orally) during pregnancy as it is difficult to eliminate through the kidneys.

Evening Primrose: Depression, M.S., brain, spinal cord, skin problems. Caution if on schizophrenic medication, Avoid if psychic disorders, Do not use with Mellaril, Stelazine, Thorzine, or Wellbutrin.

False Unicorn: Use only during the final weeks of pregnancy; will ease and/or induce labor.

Feverfew: Should be avoided during pregnancy. Has been shown to promote menses in some women, and may precipitate miscarriage.

Garlic: Cleaner, heart and blood pressure problems, antibiotic, slimming, vaginal douche. Caution if using anticoagulant drugs.

Ginger: Digestaid, excellent anti-gas, circulation, kind to women, energy. Excessive use may interfere with cardiac, anti-diabetic, or anticoagulant therapy.

Ginkgo: Keeps energy flowing to the brain and nervous system, improves memory, strokes, low blood sugar. Avoid aspirin, Coumadin, and Ticlid. Caution with MAO inhibitors, especially Nardil and Parnate.

Ginseng, Korean: Energy, glandular nutrients, germanium source for arthritis sufferers, nerve food, “well-being,” hormonal. Do not use with fever, inflammation, colds, flu, infections, headaches, or in conjunction with caffeine. Caution if cardiac disorder, diabetes, steroid therapy. Do not take if hypoglycemic. Do not use if pregnant. Not suggested for those under 40 years of age or for more than 6 weeks at a time.

Ginseng, True American: Counteracting stress, building stamina, increasing longevity with health. Do not take with heart, blood pressure, or diabetes medications. Avoid if taking MAO inhibitors. Do not use with caffeine. Avoid with cold or flu.

Golden Bough (Mistletoe): Should not be used during pregnancy; can cause uterine contractions.

Golden Seal: Powerful antibiotic, activates other herbs, varicose veins, stomach, diabetes. Can lower blood sugar levels. Use with extreme caution during pregnancy; large amounts can cause uterine contractions. Individuals with hypoglycemia should avoid using golden seal as it lowers blood sugar levels. Due to excessive over-harvesting, golden seal populations in the wild are now severely depleted and may become an endangered plant species. Other berberine-containing plants, such as barberry and Oregon grape, should be substituted whenever possible as these plants have much the same action upon the body and can often be used interchangeably. Avoid anti-clotting drugs such as Coumadin and heparin.

Hops: Nerves, sleep female hormones, skin conditions. Do not use if extremely depressed.

Hydrangea: Kidneys, urinary diuretic, eliminate swelling and fluid retention. Large doses may cause vertigo and chest congestion.

Juniper Berries: Digestaid, kidneys, immunity, adrenal supplement, vasodilator. Do not use if pregnant. Can over-stimulate kidneys and adrenals.

Klamath Weed: See St. John’s Wort

Licorice Root: Adrenal nutrients, stamina, allergies, anti-stress, low blood sugar, takes place of cortisone, menopause, helps as hormone source after hysterectomy. Excellent for regulating low blood sugar, but reduces the output of urine. If low kidney output is a concern, consider safflower or spirulina instead. Prolonged use of large amounts may cause water and sodium retention, potassium depletion, hypertension, edema, vomiting, or nausea. Avoid if taking diabetes medications, Lanoxin, Lasix, Hygroton, Lozol, Adalat, Vasotec, Minizide, birth control pills, or Bumex. Caution with Synthroid, Levothroid, and Levoxyl.

Lovage: Should not be used during pregnancy; causes uterine contractions.

Ma Huang: See Chinese Ephedra.

Male Fern: Should not be used during pregnancy; too strong a vermifuge.

Mandrake: Laxative in nature and should be used sparingly or in combinations during pregnancy.

Marshmallow: Swollen tonsils, mumps, swollen testicles, coats kidney stones, bladder infections, soothe inflammation and irritations. Large doses can cause diarrhea.

Mistletoe (Golden Bough): Should not be used during pregnancy; can cause uterine contractions.

Mugwort (Wormwood): Should not be used during pregnancy; stimulates uterine contractions and can be toxic in large doses.

Oregon Grape: Strong lymphatic cleaner (use with bowel cleaner), tumors, obstructions, liver and blood cleanser. Avoid if pregnant, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, or in cases of acute diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, or other inflammatory conditions.

Pennyroyal: Use with caution during pregnancy; this herb can cause abortion; may be used with caution in final weeks before delivery.

Poke Root (Inkberry): Should be avoided during pregnancy as it is a powerful emetic.

Red Clover: Blood builder, mineral source. Do not use with other anticoagulant drugs. Large amounts can have an estrogenic-type effect. Avoid if there is breast cancer and in cases of acute diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers or other inflammatory conditions.

Rhubarb: Laxative in nature and should be used sparingly or in combinations during pregnancy.

Rue: Should not be used during pregnancy; can cause abortion.

Sarsaparilla: Energy, hormonal for both sexes, venereal disease, hot flashes, genetic cleanser. Do not use if pregnant or on steroid therapy. Avoid in cases of acute diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, or other inflammatory conditions.

Senna: Bowel cleaner, generous supply of magnesium, colds, flu. Should be used sparingly or in combinations during pregnancy or if there is inflammation in the digestive tract. A strong laxative for occasional use only.

Shepherd’s Purse: Should not be used during pregnancy; too astringent; may be used for after-birth bleeding.

Solomon’s Seal: External use only Bumps, bruises, acne

St. John’s Wort (Klamath Weed): Shaking disorders, bedwetting, sciatic, stress, depression. A natural SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) and should only be taken with extreme caution, especially if taking prescription antidepressants. All SSRIs, including St. John's Wort, may cause serious disruption of serotonin metabolism, leading to episodes of severe aggression and/or depression resulting in homicide and/or suicide. Never administer St. John's Wort to any person less than 18 years old or take in combination with any other anti-depressant or SSRI such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, and others, or with any MAO inhibitor such as Nardil, Lipitor, Marplan, Eldepryl, Nardil, Parnate, Phenelzine, Tranylcypromine, and others. While taking this product, avoid exposure to strong sunshine and tanning rays or tanning salons. It is advisable to wear sunglasses when being exposed to strong sunlight conditions. Before taking any form of prescription anti-depressive drugs (including any SSRI or MAO inhibitor), be sure to inform your health care provider that you are taking this product. Use caution if using Kava Kava or anticonvulsants. May reduce effects of birth control pills, HIV medications, and asthma medications such as Theu-Dur, Slo-Bid, Theolair, and Elixophyllin.

Tansy: Should not be used during pregnancy; can cause uterine contractions leading to premature delivery or abortion.

Valerian Root: Sleep, silicone source, rest, Parkinson’s. Large amounts may cause dizziness and headaches and may result in mental depression. Avoid anti-anxiety medications such as Valium, Xanax, and Elavil. Do not take anti-allergy drugs such as Benadryl or Vistaril.

White Oak Bark: Varicose veins, hemorrhoids, sinus problems, gums, loose teeth, antibiotic, ulcerative colitis, wet gauze for external applications to varicose veins, mouth ulcers. Do not use if skin is dry and scaling. Avoid in cases of acute diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, or other inflammatory conditions.

Wild Ginger: See Coltsfoot.

Wormwood (Mugwort): Should not be used during pregnancy; stimulates uterine contractions and can be toxic in large doses.

Yarrow: Oxygenator, nerves, diabetes, colon virus, yeast infections, anti-viral, important for natural sodium (non-harmful type), bedwetting. May cause severe reactions if allergic to ragweed, daisies, asters, or chrysanthemums. Do not use if pregnant (may cause abortion of the unborn child).

Yellow Dock: Iron, energy, detergent, itching, clean the liver, shingles; dilute and wet gauze for external application to area. Ingestion of large quantities can cause intestinal cramping. Avoid in cases of acute diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, or other inflammatory conditions.

Yerba Santa: Lungs. Avoid during pregnancy and when the body is in a severely weakened condition. Large doses can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Yucca: Keeps body from drying out, lubricates joints, restores skin moisture, glaucoma. Can cause intestinal cramping and harsh bowel movements. Do not use if pregnant.


Originally posted on 08 November 2019

Page last updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 04:20 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)


Bibliography: Source materials used to develop the Natural Health information on this site.

The Center for Messianic Learning (CML) has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by CML.

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