I was aghast after reading a Consumer Reports post which just revealed 15 herbs they feel are dangerous for you. Their headline reads “15 Supplement Ingredients to Always Avoid,” and goes on to say “These supplement ingredients can cause organ damage, cardiac arrest, and cancer.”
Man, that just scares the bejeebers out of you, doesn’t it?
Success! That is their goal! Its intent is to spark anxiety about natural remedies. It is so superbly crafted that it will terrify tens of thousands of you into the arms of white coat professionals who can prescribe medications, which are obviously safer because they are FDA-approved.
(Yes, I’m being sarcastic again, don’t you know me by now?!)
As an example, Consumer Reports includes green tea (Camellia sinensis) on their “dangerous” list because it is found in weight loss aids. They say green tea powder may cause you to experience “dizziness, ringing in the ears… glaucoma… elevated blood pressure/heart rate, liver damage and possibly death.”
That is green tea you realize right? GREEN TEA!
I’m not suggesting that these potentials don’t exist, or that you don’t have to worry about side effects at all (because you do), but I’m convinced that the weight loss medications are more dangerous. Maybe that’s just me, I’m a pharmacist, remember? I have access to those long and boring package inserts that come folded up and when you unfold them and read them, you’ll need a magnifying glass to read all the potential disasters that could occur. So they’re telling you that green tea is dangerous, and they list “possibly death” as a risk.
Nowhere in this article did they mention that in 1997, one of the most horrific drug recalls ever to occur happened with weight loss drugs. Google “fen-phen” and you’ll learn that fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine were yanked because they destroyed heart valves and led to strokes and heart attacks. This problem unfortunately could occur in people years after stopping! Yet, they list green tea as causing “possibly death.”
Comfrey root was another one on their list where the benefits claimed were “relieves cough” and “treats cancer.” Comfrey has been used for centuries, and is considered very safe by herbalists, yet Consumer Reports posted “possibly death” for herb, too! Come on! Chemotherapy is the medication alternative to treating cancer. No matter how bad herbal ingredients are painted with scary warnings that are scrounged up, some medications carry the same exact warnings. It’s not just my opinion, a quick look at their patient package insert will prove it.
I’m going to go down the list that Consumer Reports released, and give you a typical drug counterpart in case you want to explore a medicinal option. After you look up the side effects of the herb, as well as the drug, you can make an informed decision about which you’d rather consume for the “claimed benefit” as they call it on the Consumer Reports site.
Of all the herbs listed here, I feel like this one (pennyroyal oil) is the most toxic and the one I’d never recommend. I do feel that it makes a good insecticide, as bugs hate the smell which is a very strong (disagreeable) mint aroma. It can be an abortifacient if taken incorrectly, or in large doses, so pregnant women need to stay away from this one altogether.
My article is not intended to steer you TO these herbs in any way. Or away. For that matter, if you’d like a FREE ebook on medicinal herbs that are healing, click on the image below.
I simply want to teach you that there are herbal options for all the drugs that are synthesized. And that not everything you read should be digested as truth. I want to also teach you that not all drugs are safe either, and that just because it is FDA-approved doesn’t make it safer than herbs.
The herbs put on this incredible planet have been healing and helping people for eons. Be informed. Remain empowered. Trust yourself. When I read all your letters each week, one thing comes to mind. It’s based upon the fact that you’ll send me 15 to 50 different symptoms and a list of about 12 drugs (often more) and I think to myself there is no coincidence here. When you take that many powerful medications, and you are only supervised perhaps every two months or every 6 months, or annually… what do you think happens to your body? How safe do you feel?? Be totally honest when you do this introspection.
What do you think happens to your incredible and fragile brain when you take brain-altering drugs like benzos, antidepressants and anxiolytics? Oh, those ‘psychotropes’ are big business, they are big drug categories encompassing hundreds of medications. So what do you think happens to your brain when you take brain-altering medications for years? Your brain gets damaged.
The consequence of taking mind-altering medications is not a coincidence.
I could go on and on, but you are savvy and I know you get the point, which is that these medications all come with dozens of potential side effects. They are cumulative too. This is NOT an invitation to stop them of course… and for that matter you should never stop these types of drugs cold-turkey, never ever; they have to be weaned slowly.
I’d love to enlighten you so you can book more time with your physician, or find a better one and talk things though, one by one, and see what you really need right now based upon your symptoms. See if what you take makes sense for you. See if you need to still be taking the drug, or was it just supposed to be taken for a few months (and you’re still taking it years later?!
I hear that one all the time.
Be informed. Remain empowered. Trust yourself.
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Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.