Herbs Forum, page 4

Herb Forum

This forum explores the side effects and adverse events that result from using herbs and supplements for medicine. These are the countraindications, warnings, drug/herb interactions and side effects that you should be aware of before using these supplements.

Kelp supplement and urine smell
Date: 10/28/2013

AskDocWeb: Yes it can although a strong urine odor may also result from other causes. Kelp and iron are the most likely supplements to cause this as they contain many water soluble components. Abnormal urine odor may also indicate:

  • Bladder fistula
  • Dehydration (concentrated urine can have an ammonia-like scent)
  • Liver failure
  • Ketonuria
  • Maple sugar urine disease (very rare)
  • Phenylketonuria (rare)
  • Urinary tract infection

Contact your health care provider if an abnormal urine odor is accompanied by fever, chills, burning pain with urination, or back pain. These may be signs of a urinary tract infection.

Leaky gut?
Date: 11/5/2013
I have tried slippery elm and also marshmallow root. I believe I am dealing with a leakey gut. My pulse goes up and I suffer anxiety after eating anything. I tried slippery elm first and it worked great for about a day. After taking at night the first time, my pulse went down to a calm state and I slept great. But after a day or so of using it, my gut started to burn and I discontinued it. Still desparated for something to calm down my gut lining, I tried marshmallow root tonight. Soon after taking only a small portion of what was in the capsule, my pulse went up and I knew it was a co train dictation. A couple hours into sleep, my gut was again burning and also up and down my back I. The area of my adrenals. I have found no one else reporting this kind of reaction and I’m sad and disappointed cause I’m suffering a lot of anxiety and losing weight.

AskDocWeb: Although leaky gut syndrome is not generally recognized by conventional physicians, evidence is accumulating that it is a real condition that affects the lining of the intestines. The theory is that it results from damage to the intestinal lining that allows the contents to “leak” out into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas, cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity. Those with leaky gut syndrome are encouraged to share anything that you have found helpful.

Drug test?
Date: 11/13/2013
I just started taking Milk Thistle along with some B and E vitamins. I recently did a drug test and it came back that I tested positive for cocaine. I never did cocaine in my life so I am wondering if Milk Thistle can cause a false positive.

AskDocWeb: No. Milk thistle does not show up on a drug test for drugs of abuse. However, there are several hundred substances that do cause false positives. There is an extensive list here.

Yerbe Mate and liver enzymes
Date: 11/27/2013
Can Yerbe Mate cause liver enzymes, ALT and AST to elevate within a few weeks of moderate use? Mine elevated to 63(AST) and 96(ALT). An Abdominal Ultra Sound was done within a week and was negative. One month later, my AST was 144 and ALT was 263. Hepatitis and fatty liver has been ruled out.


AskDocWeb: That may depend on where you get your Yerbe Mate. In Paraguay during the month of August, there is a tradition of mixing mate with crushed leaves, stems, and flowers of the plant known as flor de Agosto which contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These alkaloids can cause a rare condition of the liver, veno-occlusive disease, which produces liver failure due to progressive occlusion of the small venous channels in the liver.

Date: 12/13/2013


AskDocWeb: Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland, located in your brain. It plays a major role in regulating your natural sleep cycle and your immune system. The level of melatonin in your body starts rising in the mid to late evening when the natural light starts to fade and remains high for most of the night. In the early morning hours when natural light begins to increase, the level of melatonin drops off to lower levels.

Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger that helps your body cope with inflammation. Without this key hormone your thymus gland will atrophy. Melatonin may also have a role in slowing the aging of your brain.

In addition to helping you fall asleep, melatonin has proven to have an impressive array of anti-cancer benefits. Melatonin inhibits the growth of a wide range of cancer cell types as well as triggering cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction). Melatonin also interferes with the new blood supply tumors require for their rapid growth (angiogenesis). It has also been shown to boost the efficacy and decrease the toxicity of cancer chemotherapy.

In addition to melatonin’s anti-cancer effects it also boosts they body’s production of immune stimulating substances such as interleukin-2, which helps identify and attack mutated cells before they turn into cancer.

Those are some of the benefits of melatonin. Now for downside:

Conception: Melatonin may interfere with ovulation making it more difficult to conceive.

Breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using melatonin when breast-feeding so it is best not to use it.

Children: Melatonin supplements should not be given to children because it effects other hormones and might interfere with development during adolescence.

Blood pressure warning: Melatonin can raise blood pressure in people who are taking certain medications to control high blood pressure.

Diabetes: Melatonin may increase blood sugar in some people with diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and take melatonin.

Depression: Melatonin can make symptoms of depression worse.

Seizure disorders: Using melatonin may increase the risk of having a seizure.

Supplement manufacturers recommend doses that range from 3 to 5 milligrams however, our research has found that only a very small dose is required – typically 0.25mg or 0.5mg. Taking higher doses, such as 3 mg or more can sometimes make you more wakeful instead of sleepier.

Although melatonin is available as a supplement it is FAR more beneficial and less expensive to have your body produce its own. This way you get the “perfect” dose of melatonin that your body needs, the “Goldilocks'” dose, which is not too much and not too little. Your body uses a feedback loop to adjust the dose that is just right for your needs.

Note that melatonin from animal sources has the potential for contamination from toxins. Melatonin is also found in plants such as bananas, cherries, rice, sweet corn, oats, and grapes.

Check with your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you are taking other medications.

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