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Start > Doctors > Resource centre > Articles > Herbal horrors Part 1

More and more patients are using herbal medicines these days and many patients seem to believe that if a medicine is 'herbal', then it cannot possibly do any harm.

I've lost count of the number of people I have spoken to who have insisted that a herbal medicine is not a drug, can't have any side-effects, and cannot kill. But that really is very dangerous nonsense.

The truth is that any medicine that can do any good at all must be potentially harmful. This is just as true of herbal medicines as of anything else and there is now a growing amount of evidence to show that a vast range of disorders have been caused by herbal medicines.

Ginseng, for example - which is commonly used for all sorts of purposes - can cause breast pain and enlargement. It can also cause nervousness, tension and even high blood pressure.

Mistletoe, which is sometimes used to bring down high blood pressure and as an antispasmodic, can cause liver damage, while liquorice - widely used for dyspepsia - can produce high blood pressure.

Teacher: Michael
Many articles taken from 'A word with the doctor', by Dr. John Windsor.


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