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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.

Rhodiola Rosea
Date: 1/4/2014
Hello, I would like to know if taking Rhodiola Rosea could possibly produce a false positive in a urinalysis test. I’m frequently drug tested and would like to know before I put myself at risk….thanks.


AskDocWeb: We researched the subject of false positives on urine tests for several years and compiled an extensive list of substances that might show false positive. Rhodiola Rosea has not been reported to cause any problems in that regard. The list can be found here.

Wash out time?
Date: 1/12/2014
Valerian….what is the wash out time for an employment urine drug screen?


AskDocWeb: As a general rule, it takes about 5 half lives for a medicine to be completely flushed out of the body. According to our reference* the elimination half-life of valerian is 1.1 hours, plus or minus 0.6 hours. That would make the wash out time a little less than 9 hours after the last dose.

*Source reference: Anderson GD, Elmer GW, Kantor ED, Templeton IE, Vitiello MV. Pharmacokinetics of valerenic acid after administration of valerian in healthy subjects. Phytother Res. 2005;19(9):801-803.

Long-term use of lysine
Date: 2/5/2014
Are there side-effects to the prolonged use of lysine (1000mg daily over 3 years) ? The purpose for which it is taken is prevention of cold-sores


AskDocWeb: Lysine is believed to deplete the body of arginine, which is an amino-acid known to support herpes replication. The problem is that arginine also supports heart, liver, muscles functions and other things. If arginine is depleted enough it can lead to skin rashes, slow wound healing, liver malfunction and constipation. Your body needs both lysine and arginine but in the right proportions.

The general consensus seems to be that if you are going to take it daily for greater than 6 months you should not exceed one gram (1000 milligrams) per day. Short-term use of lysine does seem to help kick cold sores but taking it all the time is not recommended. The longest recommended dosing is twelve months before taking a month off.

Please note that there are a number of antidotal reports of Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot in a major vein that usually develops in the legs and/or pelvis). Whether or not the use of a lysine supplement was a contributing factor for those individuals is yet to be determined.

How much is too much cucumber?
Date: 4/14/2014
Please advise how much is considered excessive intake of cucumber? My husband suffers from Gout and we have been eating 1/4 cucumber each every day plus I have been making fruit juices which include 1/2 a cucumber is this excessive? It is quite frightening to know that the toxic compound tetracyclic triterpenoids can be lethal. I look forward to your reply many thanks.


AskDocWeb: This website addresses questions about possible side effects but for medical advice always consult with your local healthcare provider. Tetracyclic triterpenoids are what gives cucumbers their bitter taste. The more bitter the taste the more of this toxin you are consuming.

Although small amounts of cucumbers have several health benefits, too much of anything can cause problems. So how can you tell if you are consuming too much? Eating too many cucumbers may result in intestinal gas, bloating, and abdominal cramps. Drinking too much cucumber juice may result in dehydration, swelling, headaches and/or impaired breathing. The optimal quantity of intake depends on the individual’s nature and constitution. Hopefully now that you know more about these harmful effects, you are better equipped to decide how much of it to eat. You want to avoid ending up like this scientist.

Note that this warning also applies to feeding cucumbers to livestock. Cucumbers have also been implicated in some cases of livestock poisoning.

Cinnamon 1000mg
Date: 5/11/2014
Cinnamon 1000mg has gelatin, Silica, vegetable, magnesium stearate will this cause rash on the body?


AskDocWeb: It appears (from the use of “mg”) that you may be asking about a herbal supplement in pill or capsule form, is that right? You need to identify which “vegetable” is in that formula in order to determine whether or not you might be sensitive to it. Most people do not get a rash from products containing gelatin, Silica, or magnesium stearate.

Cucumber juice
Date: 5/24/2014
while using cucumber to clean the mistaking if the liquid enters the eye, will it harm the eye or be of good use to the eye?


AskDocWeb: Cucumbers are 95% water so there is no immediate threat to getting a little juice in your eye, although it may sting a little. If it does bother you water can rinse the irritant away. Cucumber juice is a rich source of Vitamin K, rich in vitamin A and potassium, which is why it is used in so many skin creams.

Date: 5/30/2014


AskDocWeb: See the answer to Colleen’s post above.

Campaign to have rosemary labeled as an allergen?
Date: 6/8/2014
I am highly allergic to rosemary and Carry an epi pen for this reason! How can I begin a campaign for this herb to be labeled as an allergen and clearly listed in packaging?


AskDocWeb: That is way beyond our areas of experience. Maybe a reader would help by pointing out how Andrea would go about that.

Date: 6/18/2014
Cucumber facial mask


Date: 6/28/2014
Valerian root for sleep.


AskDocWeb: Yes, valerian root has been used for many years by many people to get a good night’s sleep.

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