Health Guide

Elderly at Risk of Supplement-Prescription Drug Interactions

The popularity of herbal supplements is growing fast across all age groups. Elderly patients often take herbal remedies to improve heart health, reduce joint pain or improve sleep. Not all herbal supplements are safe for use by elderly patients when prescription medications are required for improved health. Some interactions between herbal supplements and prescription medications can be deadly.

Herbal laxatives may reduce absorption of prescription medications. When bowel movements go awry, many elderly people choose to take herbal colon cleansers or laxatives to improve regularity. The most common over-the-counter treatment for constipation is fiber, sold under the brand names Metamucil, Benefiber, Fibercon and other brand names. Herbal laxatives are also available in stimulant varieties.

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Stimulant laxatives cause the muscles of the bowel to contract, forcing waste to move through the intestine faster. Both stimulant and non-stimulant herbal laxatives decrease the time waste spends in the intestine and thus, decrease the time prescription medications have to absorb through intestinal walls.

To avoid the interaction between fiber, laxatives and prescription medications, elderly must take the prescription medications at least one hour before or two hours after taking fiber.

Licorice root may increase the effectiveness of prescription medications. Licorice root often appears in herbal supplements for stomach upset and constipation. There are known interactions between licorice root and diuretics, Digoxin, corticosteroids and insulin, but it is the unknown interactions that could be dangerous for the elderly.

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Some diuretics like Esidrix and Zarolxolyn are commonly prescribed to lower blood pressure. Elderly patients may not know these drugs are diuretics. When licorice root is taken with diuretics, it may increase the effectiveness of the medication or increase the side effects associated with the prescription medication.

To reduce the risk of possible interaction between licorice root and prescription medications, ask your doctor if the blood pressure medication you’re taking is also a diuretic.

Check the label on the herbal supplements you’re taking for the ingredient licorice root. There is no safe way to combine the two treatments. Licorice root should not be taken with diuretics at any time.

Herbal supplement ingredients may cause dangerous side effects during surgery. Many elderly people believe the word herbal or all-natural means safe, but that is not always the case.

Common herbal remedies may pose potentially dangerous and life-threatening side effects when taken with certain medications given before, during and after surgery.


Garlic, commonly used to improve heart health, is generally considered safe, but when garlic is taken with anti-clotting and immunosuppressant medications, serious interactions may occur.

Garlic is known to interact with Warfarin, Plavix, dipyridamole and indomethacin. Garlic is not the only herbal supplement known to interact with blood thinners like Warfarin. Others include feverfew, ginger, St. John’s Wort and cranberry.

Interactions between anesthesia, transplant drugs and herbal supplements also occur. Valerian root, commonly used to improve sleep and St. John’s Wort, commonly used as a natural treatment for depression, may interact with anesthetic and immunosuppressant drugs, respectively.

To avoid possible interactions between herbal supplements and prescription medications used before, during and after surgery, reveal all treatments, both over the counter and prescription, to the surgeon performing the procedure and the anesthesiologist.

It is typically advised to stop taking all herbal remedies at least two weeks before surgery to prevent possible interaction.

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As the body ages, the elderly may choose alternative therapies to treat depression and pain or improve heart health. Many of these herbal supplements are safe, but when taken with prescription medications may cause serious side effects and interactions.

It is best to talk with your prescribing physician about any herbal supplements currently part of your daily routine.

Health Guide

Treat the Pain and Swelling from Bites and Stings

Most of us like being outdoors but unfortunately so do insects that often love to take a bite out of us or sting us. Most, if not, all of us have been bitten or stung by insects or other animals like dogs.

I remember I was stung by a yellow jacket and not only was it painful but the sting grew almost to the size of a tennis ball. Bites and stings are no fun and can be very painful and swell. To treat and reduce the pain and swelling from bites and stings try some of these alternative remedies.

The best herb to take that will quickly heal the pain and itching of a sting or bite is plantain. Plantain has chemicals in it that act as astringents fighting bites and stings by tightening the skin and reducing the swelling, itching, and pain.


Plantain is found almost anywhere where the climate is damp and heavy. For quick relief, grab some plantain leaves, rinse them off, chew it to release the juice, and then put the chewed piece on the bite or sting.

This works immediately and you will notice that the pain and itching will stop instantly. If you are not too keen on chewing plants, then you can rub the plant together until the juice comes out and then rub it on the bite or sting. Plantain works great for dog bites also.

First, scrub the area with soap and water. Then put a handful of rinsed plantain leaves in a blender, add a few drops of hot water, and blend. Put the mixture directly on the bite and cover with a gauze and then put a heating pad over the gauze. Keep it on the bite for 20-30 minutes.


Another helpful herb is goldenseal to treat the pain and swelling of bites and stings. You can make a powder out of the goldenseal by mixing a small amount of water with the powder to make a paste. Put it directly on the bite or sting and then cover it with a bandage.

Goldenseal helps to reduce infections from bites and stings. After some bites and stings go away, there can still be some toxins left in the body. To help remove these toxins, use some bentonite clay paste. To make the paste, mix 2 tablespoons of the clay with just enough water to make a paste.

Then cover the bite or sting with a gauze by making a bandage and leave it on for 30 minutes. You should do this twice a day for 4 days.

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Olive leaf helps to prevent infections by reducing the swelling and the pain of bites and stings. To reduce the pain and swelling of bee stings, put two pellets of the 12C or 30C potency of Apis Mellifica, which is crushed bees, under your tongue every 3 or 4 hours on the first day of the sting.

Health Guide

Best Herbs for Menopause. Are they working?

Once you are entering the early phases of menopausal period, it is always advisable to prepare for it before it comes. That’s why women choose what treatment program they are going to take. And one of the most popular and effective way of treating the symptoms are the herbs for menopause.

Herbs for menopause are one of the most popular and effective ways of treating the symptoms of the said deficiency of estrogen. Though some people would call them traditional in nature, the effects of these herbs are far better than the most renowned hormone replacement therapy nowadays.

However, most doctors would still claim that HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is still the best remedy to ease the symptoms of menopause. Indeed, it is true that when it comes to stalling off the symptoms of menopause rapidly, HRT is still the best. However, when safety concerns are questioned, the immediate answer is herbs for menopause.


It seems that herbs would replace HRT for the coming years. There were even no disputes regarding the effectiveness of herbs used to bring down the dreaded symptoms of menopause and that herbs are acclaimed for the safety and natural way of healing or much more, preventing the symptoms of menopause.

Therefore, natural ways of treating those symptoms are always the best. Natural way of treatment would give the body time to adapt naturally rather than forcing it. However, natural treatment would take weeks before you can feel its effects but the good thing is that the effect is long-lasting not like the unnatural way. If you have short patience, then you would need to take hormone therapy rather than natural.

Here are some herbs used by women for their menopause:

-Ginger Roots are the most effective and popular herbal medicine used by Chinese.

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-Chaste Tree Berry has always been used for more than hundreds of years and was proven effective when it comes to menstrual conditions.


-Atractylodes Rhizome is always beneficial for conditions like sweating and vomiting but is more effective when combined with other herbs.

Women all around the world prefer the natural way of treating those menopause symptoms by promoting herbs for menopause.