Herbs to Avoid Before Surgery

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NEW YORK—A report in the March/April issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal says that more than 40 percent of plastic surgery patients use herbal supplements in the two weeks prior to undergoing surgery and some of those supplements can have harmful effects when combined with surgery. The report also states as many as 70 percent of patients may not disclose the use of alternative medications to their surgeon, sometimes because they feel these physicians have little knowledge or interest in naturopathic medicine, or they feel physicians may disapprove of such treatments.

Herbal supplements, such as ginkgo biloba, ginseng, garlic, Echinacea and valerian root, can interfere with other medications and cause negative cardiovascular effects, bleeding and sedative effects. The Aesthetic Surgery Journals warns patients to be aware that full disclosure of all medications - both those that are prescribed and those that are obtained over-the-counter - is extremely important to their health and safety.

The report’s authors give a list of herbal supplements to avoid two weeks before surgery. They say the following can cause bleeding effects: gingko bilboa, garlic, ginseng, fish oil, dong quai and feverfew. Drug interactions can be caused by Echinacea, goldenseal, licorice, St. John’s work, kava and valerian root. Ephedra and garlic can cause cardiovascular effects, they say.

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