medicinal plants

Medicinal plants

"Natural" products are not safe

Recommendations so that the use and consumption of products made from medicinal plants is carried out with a minimum of safety. The advertising claims of some of these products about their safety are not supported by scientific studies

  • Require during the consultation if the patient is a habitual consumer of products based on medicinal plants, vitamins and other food supplements and attach them to the patient's clinical history. This information can be as useful as knowing your smoking, drinking, or exercise habits.
  • Inform patients and especially those who have chronic, hepatic pathologies, with a history of allergic reactions, pregnant and lactating mothers about the advisability of not consuming preparations based on medicinal plants without prior consultation.
  • If an adverse drug reaction is suspected, ask the patient if he or she uses herbal products.

If an adverse reaction is suspected from the consumption of a herbal product or a possible interaction between a medication and a herbal product, notify the Spanish Pharmacovigilance System.

 In addition to the interactions and adverse reactions of medicinal plants, there may be other problems related to the use and consumption of preparations from medicinal plants:

  • Poisoning as a result of misidentification of the medicinal plant in question.
  • Contamination by microorganisms, by other plants or by chemical products (pesticides, fumigation products).
  • Accidental or intentional adulteration with metals, alkaloids, synthetic drugs, etc.
  • Presence of unwanted allergens that may be of special risk in people with a previous allergic substrate.
  • Effects derived from the abandonment of conventional pharmacological therapy by replacing it with medicinal plants.
  • Effects derived from the mixture of different medicinal plants whose pharmacologically active substances are difficult or impossible to identify since they come from different parts of the plant.
  • Effects derived from the marked variability of the content of active substances, even of defined and known species, depending on the season in which the plant has been harvested, the area, the growth conditions and the part of the plant used (stem, root, leaves, etc).

If you suspect that the problem is related to one of them, notify the Pharmaceutical Control and Health Products Area, calle Espronceda, 24, 4ª planta - 28003 Madrid,