(MayoClinic.com) You might not think to tell your doctor about the herbal supplements you're taking, such as the echinacea you take to fight off colds or the feverfew you use to prevent migraines. But think again. These and other herbal supplements can affect the success of a surgical procedure, just as over-the-counter and prescription medications can. Tell your doctor about any herbal supplements you're taking well before you have surgery. You may need to stop taking some herbal supplements up to three weeks before surgery to make sure they leave your system completely.
Here's a look at some common herbal supplements and how they can interfere with surgery. Keep in mind that other herbal supplements also may affect your surgery, so be sure to tell your doctor if you're taking any herbs that aren't on this list.
|Herbal supplement||Possible complications|
|Aloe vera||May cause increased intestinal muscle movement to digest food (peristalsis), may decrease effectiveness of water pills (diuretics) given after surgery|
|Bromelain||May cause bleeding or interact with antibiotics such as amoxicillin or tetracyclines|
|Danshen||May cause bleeding|
|Dong quai||May cause bleeding|
|Echinacea||May interfere with immune functioning, may alter effectiveness of immunosuppressant drugs given after transplant surgery|
|Ephedra||May cause abnormal heartbeat, may cause extreme high blood pressure and coma if combined with certain antidepressants and anesthesia|
|Feverfew||May cause bleeding|
|Garlic||May cause bleeding, may interfere with normal blood clotting|
|Ginger||May cause bleeding|
|Ginkgo||May cause bleeding|
|Ginseng||May cause bleeding, may cause rapid heartbeat, may cause high blood pressure|
|Goldenseal||May cause or worsen swelling and high blood pressure|
|Kava||May enhance sedative effects of anesthesia|
|Licorice (not including licorice candy)||May increase blood pressure|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||May cause bleeding if taken in doses greater than 3 grams a day|
|Senna||May cause electrolyte imbalance|
|St. John's wort||May increase or decrease the effects of some drugs used during and after surgery|
|Valerian||May prolong the effects of anesthesia|
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed|
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