Friday, October 16, 2015

No Free Lunch

Last week, a friend asked me what I thought of herbal remedies. (She probably regretted it almost instantly.)

While others have done an excellent job summarizing evidence, and lack thereof, about herbs, I want to reiterate what I told my friend, because I think it's the most overlooked point about 'using plants like out bloodletting ancestors who  frequently died in childbirth and of common infections':  any dose of something large enough to have an effect is a dose large enough to have a side effect.  If herbs work, it's because there's a real, bioactive component.  We call those drugs.  

5 comments:

  1. Oh, I dunno. Ginger tea kept my nausea down in pregnancy with no ill effect. Anti-nausea medication has side effects and would have been over-kill. That's the only example I can think of though.

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  2. I'll grant an exception for things made of food. :-) and not all side effects are severe, of course- if you don't take the whole bottle and/or drink heavily Tylenol is mostly harmless. And... well, I can't think of others off the top of MY head either. I guess 'dose large enough to POTENTIALLY have side effects' would be closer.

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  3. Exceptions that prove the rule!

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  4. My side effect from ginger for nausea was an inability to eat ginger for two years thereafter!

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    Replies
    1. Haha, me too, actually. Just the tea though. No problem with say, ginger in Chinese food or gingersnaps (which I did not partake of during pregnancy...).

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