Author(s): Abebe W
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Abstract Herbal medication in the United States is a popular form of therapy. This paper provides an overview of the utilization of herbal supplements with particular emphasis on possible interactions with oral health drugs and oral manifestations. Herbal supplements are regulated by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which limits their regulation by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A number of studies indicate that there is a progressive increase in the utilization of herbal supplements. The majority of consumers of these products are white, middle-aged women who have some college education. Many of the consumers use pharmaceutical drugs concurrently, but most do not inform their health-care providers about their use of herbal supplements. Various herbal supplements have been reported or are suspected to interact with certain oral health drugs, the most important one being 1) bromelain, cayenne, chamomile, feverfew, dong quai, eleuthro/Seberian ginseng, garlic, ginkgo, ginger, ginseng and licorice interacting with aspirin; 2) aloe latex, ephedra, ginseng, rhubarb, cascara sagrada, licorice, and senna interacting with corticosteriods; 3) kava, St. John's wort, chamomile, and valerian interacting with central nervous system (CNS) depressant drugs; and 4) herbs acting on the gastrointestinal system, altering the absorption of several orally administered drugs. Further, the use of some herbal supplements has been reported to be associated with oral manifestations, including aphthous ulcers, lip and tongue irritation, and swelling with feverfew; gingival bleeding with feverfew and ginkgo; tongue numbness with echinacea; xerostomia with St. John's wort; oral and lingual dyskinesia with kava; and salivation with yohimbe. These potential effects of herbal supplements in conjunction with factors related to regulation restrictions suggest that the use of these products may be associated with various adverse reactions that can affect oral health and treatment. Dental hygienists should inform themselves about herbal supplements in order to offer appropriate oral health care to individuals who take these substances.
This article was published in J Dent Hyg
and referenced in Dentistry