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Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Myrtle (Myrtus communis). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 - Contraindications: Pregnancy, breast-feeding, chronic kidney disease.

Warning 2 - Antidiabetics: Myrtle may cause an increase of hypoglycemic effects. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 3 - Drug/herb interactions: Because myrtle affects a specific enzyme that metabolizes drugs (cylochrome p450 or CYP450), it should not be used with the certain medications. If you are taking any prescription drugs talk to your doctor before using myrtle.

In traditional herbal medicine myrtle has been used internally for the following benefits and conditions:
  • bronchial congestion
  • digestive problems
  • dry coughs
  • rhinosinusitis sinusitis (sinus infections)
  • urinary infections
In the Kitchen: Myrtle leaves can be used as a tea, and can be substituted for bay leaves in cooking. Myrtle branches can also be used as fuel for grilling as it transmits a spicy aromatic flavor to meats and vegetables.

An ointment containing the essential oil of myrtle is effective against herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) infection.

Side Effects of Myrtle

The known side effects of using myrtle include:
  1. Irritation of mucous membranes
  2. Large amounts may depress central nervous system
  3. The oil of myrtle can cause asthma-like attacks and lung failure.
Other side effects may also occur when using myrtle. (See form below)

Excessive amounts of myrtle can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, blood circulation disorders, and other problems.

Adverse Reactions are possible with this herb although they are rare. Seek emergency medical treatment if you experience swelling of the hands and feet, decreased urine flow, blood in urine, convulsions, or coma.

Related plants: The name "myrtle" is also used to refer to some unrelated plants: "Crape myrtle" (Lagerstroemia, Lythraceae), "Wax myrtle" (Morella, Myricaceae), and "Creeping myrtle" (Vinca, Apocynaceae). The warnings listed here may or may not apply to these unrelated plants and they can not be said to have the same effects.

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2011 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Myrtle and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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