Holistic Medicine Side Effects and Complications

Holistic medicines are not always the harmless nostrums that many patients and even some physicians think, but may actually contribute to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, researchers warned in a review covering 44 years of research into the subject.

Many such products, including aloe vera, ginkgo biloba, and ginseng, and green tea, can interact with conventional cardiovascular drugs and lead to serious adverse reactions.

The potential sensitizing capacity of numerous herbal remedies may lead to allergic contact dermatitis and more rarely to IgE-mediated clinical symptoms. Mechanical injuries may be observed following acupuncture leading to pneumothorax, cardiac tamponade or spinal injury. Infectious complications after acupuncture include hepatitis and bacterial endocariditis. Organ toxicity has been observed associated with various herbal preparations involving the liver, kidneys, and the heart. Some herbs may have cancerogenic properties. Severe nutritional deficiencies can occur in infants and small children given strict alternative diets, resembling 'kwashiorkor'. Finally, among other miscellaneous adverse effects, adulteration with steroids, and herbal and drug interactions are discussed. The pattern of side-effects is similar to that observed by the use of conventional medicine. Therefore, caution may be justified using both conventional and unconventional methods. Only if the benefit is proven and the side-effects are established, should a given method be chosen.

  • Toxic side effects and drug interactions
  • Alcohol used with medicines can cause side effects
  • How to reduce the risk of side effects

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