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Dangerous Side Effects of Herbs

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/4/2011

Many herbs offer a natural approach to treating numerous medical conditions. Unfortunately, many of these same herbs can have very dangerous side effects. Taken along with certain medications, there is a possibility for experiencing the dangerous side effects of herbs.

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    Herbal remedies are often a great solution for treating numerous medical conditions and ailments. However, many of these same beneficial herbs can cause dangerous side effects and interactions with other medications and supplements. Dangerous side effects of herbs can range from stomach upset to fetal loss. These side effects can be a result of many common herbal remedies.

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    Alfalfa

    Alfalfa is very dangerous for pregnant women to consume. This herb is often used to induce menstruation, which can cause miscarriage. Alfalfa has even shown to alter iron absorption within the body. This herb can interact with medications, such as Warfarin and should be avoided if you have heart or blood disorders. Alfalfa has shown to cause Lupus flares and even destroy vital red blood cells.

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    Black Cohosh

    Black cohosh is used to treat a number of health conditions. This herb can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headaches. Unexplainable weight gain can occur as well. It is believed this herb may alter hormone levels, causing an imbalance. Large amounts of black cohosh can cause a decrease in heart rate, tremors and sweating.

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    Cayenne

    Using cayenne has shown to increase the chance of bleeding in people with blood disorders. It may stain teeth a deep black color and cause teeth to loose enamel. Cayenne can become very dangerous because it increases the absorption of medications and other herbs or supplements.

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    Milk Thistle

    The use of milk thistle has shown to cause the body to increase bile flow. This herb can cause a normal liver to begin functioning improperly. Dangerous side effects of this herb can take the form gastrointestinal upset, severe weakness and sweating.

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    Nutmeg

    Consuming large amounts of nutmeg can cause dangerous episodes of hallucinations. An extreme overdose of nutmeg can be fatal. Unusual behavior, triple vision and odd sensations can occur from nutmeg use. Stomach upset can also be a side effect of nutmeg.

    Dangerous side effects of herbs can be caused from a number of common herbs that are used to treat numerous alignments and medical conditions. Dangerous herbs should be used with extreme caution and the risks and benefits should be weighed carefully. It is important to speak with a health professional before taking any new herbs.

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    References:

    “Nutmeg Side Effects” March 2009 Personal Health Zone

    “Milk Thistle Side Effects” Side Effects Guide

    “Cayenne Side Effects” March 2009 Cayenne Pepper

    “Black Cohosh Side Effects” March 2009 WebMD

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