Herbal Remedy May have Down Side

A popular herbal remedy on the market used to treat depression could have a major down side by cutting the effectiveness of a number of prescription drugs.

St. John's Wort can significantly reduce the effectiveness of prescription drugs according to a new study. Researchers say based on their findings St. John's Wort may affect the way the body metabolizes 50% of the medicines we take.

St. John's Wort effects everything from Birth Control Pills to Cholesterol and Cancer drugs by souping up a liver enzyme, nearly doubling it's ability to metabolize medicine. There fore it's like taking a lower dose of your prescription medication.

Hyperforin is the offending substance in St. John's Wort that's responsible for inducing these liver enzymes. Researchers say beware of compounds with more than one-percent of Hyperforin, but that the FDA does not regulate herbs and doses can very from batch to batch.

The take home message for anyone mixing herbs and traditional drugs is to consult your doctor or pharmacist and to make sure your combination drug mix is safe.

Herbal manufacturers are not required to warn consumers about potential drug interactions. There is a website that checks the potency and safety of herbal products at www.consumerlab.com