There is a common misconception that home remedies are harmless because they are natural products sold over the counter. This is not the case. Discovering the causes of some complications may be difficult, as many people, during a standard medical history, do not consider home remedies worth mentioning along with the conventional medications they take. Some people may also be embarrassed to admit to a doctor that they are taking home remedies instead of more conventional medicines. Doctors should remember to inquire about this, as it can be important. Some herbs could cause poisoning or have some kind of contraindication with prescription drugs, in these cases home remedies side effects could be dangerous.
There are references to skin problems associated with exposure to certain plants from as far back as the first century AD. Pedianos Dioscorides was a Greek botanist who wrote a text on 600 medicinal plants. In it he first described plant irritants. Poison ivy was first mentioned in 1609 in the diary of Captain John Smith, written during his settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. Chinese primrose became a useful material for contact dermatitis research in the late 1800s. By the beginning of the 1900s, the study of dermatitis due to plant exposure in the West had merged completely with the research of contact dermatitis in general.
In the recent professional literature, contact with the following home remedies has been mentioned as causing sensitivity reactions in some cases:
Home Remedies Side Effects
• Burdock (Arctium lappa).
• Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
• Elecampane (Inula helenium) extract.
• Nettle (Urtica dioica).
• Slippery elm (Uhrus fulva).
• Spurge (Euphorbia bougheii).
• Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil.
A very small number of diverse side effects due to the use of herbal preparations have been reported in the professional medical literature over the past fifteen years. In a number of studies between 1987 and 1992, it was well documented that traditional Chinese herbal medicine could, in very rare cases, cause liver damage. In her 1994 study, Dr. M.P. Sheehan of the Department of Dermatology at the Hospital for Sick Children in London, England, refers to two cases previously reported by others in which two children contracted hepatitis after receiving traditional Chinese medicine treatment for atopic dermatitis.
There has been a single case reported of abdominal pain due to taking a Chinese herbal medicine with clamshell powder that contained lead, and another isolated case of reversible weakening of the heart after a two-week treatment with traditional Chinese herbal medicine. The number of people who have experienced unwanted side effects from traditional Chinese herbal preparations appears to be very, very tiny, but you should remember that side effects are still possible.
Dr. C.P. Siegers and colleagues at the Institute of Toxicology, Medical University of Liibeck, Germany, concluded from their studies that laxative abuse with aloe, cascara, senna, frangula, or rheum may cause a 2.5-fold increased risk for colorectal cancer. This does not mean that these natural laxatives pose an increased risk for colorectal cancer when taken as directed, only if they are overused and abused. In general, herbal preparations are most likely to cause problems if taken in too-high doses, too frequently, and/or for too long a period of time.
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