Herbs and Surgery
Make sure you tell your doctor if you are taking any herbs or other supplements.
Herbs that can cause complications before or during surgery:
- Garlic, ginkgo and ginseng can cause bleeding
- Ephedra can raise blood pressure and heart rate
- Ginseng can lower blood sugar levels
- Kava and valerian can make anesthetics more potent
- St. John's Wort can interfere with some drugs
- Echinacea can cause allergic reactions or alter immune function
What to do:
Stop taking garlic, ginseng and St. John's wort roughly a week before surgery, and ginkgo, kava and ephedra a day or two before surgery.
There is no reliable information on how early to stop taking echinacea or valerian.
A simpler suggestion from the American Society of Anesthesiologists is to stop taking any herbal supplement at least two to three weeks before an operation.
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association
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