Friday, June 27, 2014

Herbs That Can Damage Your Liver

One might think that herbs are a safe alternative to western meds, but some can actually be harmful or toxic to your system. Oftentimes it's simply a misuse of some herbal product that leads to major medical issues, though that's not always the case. If the directions tell you to drink no more than three cups a day of some herbal weight loss tea that doesn't mean you should drink a gallon of it. You wouldn't take more than the prescribed dosage of a prescription drug, so why would you think it okay to do that with an herbal remedy? Granted, some alternatives like homeopathy are pretty safe, but not all herbs are. Do your research before you take an herbal remedy, make sure the manufacturer is trustworthy, and stick to the recommended dosage. 

Today Health has an interesting article on five herbs that in excess can actually damage your liver, and you might be surprised which ones.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology watch out for the following:

GREEN TEA
“Green tea is widely used. If you drink a few cups a day, it is unlikely you will suffer any adverse reaction." “But the extracts are concentrated formulations.”  The catechins in the tea " can deplete some of the protective molecules in cells such as glutathione that are there to protect us from injury. A high dose of green tea extract can lead in susceptible persons to actually quite severe or even fatal liver injury." 
[snip]
“We don’t really fully understand the basis for the susceptibility, but it seems likely to be a combination of genetic factors…but also maybe related to their diets, to whether or not they have been drinking alcohol."
COMFREY

Comfrey contains has toxic substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that damage the liver, sometimes fatally. Comfrey is no longer sold in the U.S., except in creams or ointments, but even used this way the alkaloids can build up in the body.
KAVA
Kava kava is made from the roots of the plant Piper methysticum, best known as the basis for a ceremonial drink in Oceania but also sold to treat anxiety and insomnia. It’s been documented to have cause liver damage in as many as 100 people, however, and its use is banned or restricted in Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, and Britain.  
SKULLCAP 
Skullcap was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat anxiety, stress and insomnia. Chinese skullcap is a different species, but both are suspected of causing liver damage. Skullcap is often used in products containing multiple herbs, so it’s not entirely clear that skullcap is entirely to blame. But it’s something to keep an eye on.
CHAPARRAL
Chaparral, an extract of a shrub known as creosote bush, is used by people believing it can benefit conditions ranging from skin rashes to cancer. The suspected liver-damaging compound is one called NDGA. It’s possible that people with liver injury from the herb are having a type of allergic or immune reaction to it. But it’s been severe enough in some cases to have forced an emergency liver transplant.  
Today health also talks about how you can tell if you are having liver problems. 

The rest here.

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