Researchers are warning that popular herbs and supplements, including St John’s wort and even garlic and ginger, do not mix well with common heart drugs and can also be dangerous for patients taking statins, blood thinners and blood pressure medication.
Garlic and ginger increase the risk of bleeding in patients on blood thinners, say researchers. “This is not new research, but there is a trend towards more and more use of these compounds, and patients often don’t discuss with their doctors the compounds they are using on their own,” says Arshad Jahangir, senior author of a paper published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology .
Stick to pills: While on medication, avoid other therapies.
The paper includes a list of around two dozen herbal products that patients should approach with caution, as well as a list of common drug-herb interactions. Among the products listed are ginkgo biloba, ginseng and echinacea, as well as soya milk, green tea, aloe vera and licorice. Even grapefruit juice can be risky.
Doctors need to ask patients about the herbs and supplements they take, and patients need to disclose that information, Dr Jahangir says. For those who take garlic supplements thinking it will improve their heart health, he says, “They’re very surprised to hear that they may be taking something that could perhaps increase the risks of bleeding”.
©2010/The New York Times
According to a Nielsen Global Online Survey carried out in September-October across 54 countries (the results were released on Monday), 97% Indians consider food safety important when deciding where to shop. India ranked among the nations most willing to pay a premium for safe food (with 85%, it tied in second place with Ukraine; leaders Saudi Arabia and the Philippines had 86%). Indians have the greatest trust in the local store (73% are confident of food safety there).
Interestingly, 60% of Indians hold the manufacturer mainly responsible for food safety—only 30% hold the government responsible for providing safe food; and a mere 8% hold the retailer responsible. But personal responsibility came foremost: 86% hold themselves responsible for safety of food eaten at home, compared with a global 75%. Fifty-three per cent Indians will not eat food past its “best before” date, even if it looks and smells all right. However, while 73% agree that certain countries provide safer food than others, most Indians (65%) think local food is safer than imported: 42% actively try to buy locally-grown/made products, 23% buy products that haven’t travelled long distances, 69% vouch for organic food. Oddly, given this local and natural bias, Indians are most likely (32%, versus a global 18%) to consider genetically modified products safe.
Trying to quit smoking? So-called nicotine-free cigarettes (they actually have a tiny amount of nicotine) may be as helpful as nicotine lozenges, suggests a new study. Smokers who used the nicotine-free cigarettes before quitting were as likely not to be smoking six weeks later as those who used nicotine lozenges, Dorothy K. Hatsukami of the University of Minnesota Tobacco Use Research Center, Minneapolis, US, and colleagues have reported in the current issue of the journal Addiction. These are not to be confused with low-nicotine or “lite” cigarettes.
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