Why the butterfly?  People living with Lupus often have a rash on their face called a malar rash.  Commonly called a 'butterfly' rash, it appears across the nose and cheeks, in the shape of a butterfly's wings.  You will find a different butterfly on each page, representing how different Lupus is for each person. Herbal Supplements and Lupus

The information on this page is reprinted with the written permission of the author. The Lupie Bin makes no representation or warranties with respect to any treatment, action, or application of medication or preparation by any person following the information offered or provided within this article.

How many of you take herbal remedies or other dietary supplements? How many of you are on prescription medication? If you've answered yes to both of these questions read on. Many people assume that because herbs are 'natural', they must be safe to take. Wrong. Belladonna is 'natural', and is also know as Deadly Nightshade. And it's not called 'Deadly' for the fun of it!
Of course, many herbs are safe to take and can do people a lot of good. I personally take different herbal remedies, along with my prescription medications. I must admit that when I first saw some of the information in this article I was shocked at how dangerous it can be to 'blindly' take supplements. I would always advise people considering taking any form of herbal remedy, dietary supplement, or other complementary therapy, to first consult their doctor, and wherever possible, to seek advise from a registered professional, be that a herbalist, aromatherapist or other practitioner.
As you will see from the list below, many herbs interact with Non- Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), and blood-thinning drugs, which, of course, many people with lupus take.
Bromelain (Pineapple enzyme) - May increase the effect of blood- thinning drugs (e.g. Warfarin, Heparin).
Cat's Claw - May increase the risk of bleeding if taken with blood- thinning drugs (e.g. Warfarin, Heparin).
Cayenne Pepper - Reports of possible interaction with MAO inhibitors and antihypertensive therapy (used to lower blood pressure). In large quantities, may cause damage to liver and kidneys.
Chamomile - Contains coumarin, but chamomile's effects on the body's anticoagulation system have not been studied. If used with anticoagulants such as warfarin, close monitoring by a doctor is advised.
Devil's Claw - May interfere with antacids, cardiac or diabetic medications. Use with caution is taking NSAIDs, which can irritate the stomach, as it can stimulate stomach acids.
DHEA - May cause liver damage if taking azathioprine or methotrexate. Can increase insulin resistance or sensitivity in diabetics.
Dong Quai - May interact with blood-thinning medications (e.g. Warfarin, Heparin). May increase sun sensitivity.
Echinacea - May be toxic to the liver if used for more than eight weeks. Should not be used with drugs that can cause liver problems, such as anabolic steroids, amiodarone, methotrexate and ketoconazole. Should not be given with immunosuppressants such as corticosteroids and cyclosporine because it can stimulate the immune system.
Evening primrose oil and borage (GLA) - Should not be used with anticonvulsants because they may lower the seizure threshold. Not recommended for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. May increase the effects of anticoagulants and NSAIDs.
Feverfew - Effect on migraine headaches may be compromised by non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. May increase blood-thinning effect of Warfarin or other anticoagulants, including NSAIDs. Not to be used if pregnant, as it may cause miscarriage.
Fish Oil (Omega-3 fatty acids) - May increase the blood-thinning effects of anticoagulants and NSAIDs.
Garlic - Should not be used with warfarin or other anticoagulents, because it affects clotting. May also interact with hypoglycemic medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Ginger - Should not be used with warfarin because it affects clotting. Do not use if you have gallstones. Large quantities may interfere with cardiac, antidiabetic or anticoagulant (Warfarin, Heparin) therapy.
Gingko - Can inhibit clotting so should not be used with aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or with anticoagulants such as warfarin or heparin. Also should not be used in conjunction with anticonvulsant drugs used by epileptics, such as carbamazepine, phenytoin and phenobarbital, or with tricyclic antidepressants.
Ginseng - Should not be used with warfarin, heparin, aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs because it can inhibit clotting. Also may cause headache, tremulousness and manic episodes in patients treated with phenelzine sulfate. Should not be used with estrogens or corticosteroids because it may add to those drugs' side effects. May also interfere with the heart drug digoxin or with digoxin monitoring. Should not be used by diabetics because it can affect blood glucose levels.
Goldenseal - Should be avoided by people with high blood pressure. May interfere with anticoagulant therapy (Heparin).
Karela - Should not be used by patients with diabetes because it can affect blood glucose levels.
Kava - Should not be used with the tranquilizer alprazolam because it may result in coma. Do not take with sleeping medications or tranquilizers.
Kelp - May interfere with thyroid replacement therapies.
Licorice - Can offset the effect of the diuretic drug spironolactone. May also interfere with heart drug digoxin or with digoxin monitoring. Potassium loss due to other drugs, e.g., thiazide diuretics, can be increased.
Melatonin - Appears to boost the immune system, so should be avoided by people with autoimmune diseases, including lupus.
St. John's Wort - Can produce skin reactions to light so fair-skinned users may wish to take care and anyone taking other drugs that cause light sensitivity, such as piroxicam or tetracycline, may want to avoid this herb. The active ingredient in St. John's Wort is uncertain, so it should not be used with two common types of psychiatric drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Tannic acid in the herb may inhibit absorption of iron. Can block the effects of drugs, including oral contraceptives, tricyclic antidepressants, cyclosporin, several heart drugs and warfarin.
Stinging Nettle - May increase the effects of tranquilizers and sedative drugs. May decrease the effect of certain cardiac and diabetic drugs.
Valerian - Should not be used with barbiturates, such as thiopental and pentobarbital -can cause excessive sedation. Do not use if taking tranquilizers or sleep medications, as it increases the effect.
White willow bark - Aspirin is made from the drug salaicin, which is contained in White Willow Bark. Do not take with aspirin or other NSAIDs, as it increases their effects. May increase the effects of anticoagulant drugs (e.g. Warfarin, Heparin).

Vitamin A - People with osteoarthritis shouldn't exceed the RDA (700 mcg for women, 900 mcg for men).
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) - May interfere with diabetic drugs.
Calcium - Do not take if you have a history of kidney stones.
Vitamin E - May increase risk of bleeding in people taking anticoagulants (e.g. Warfarin, Heparin).
Magnesium - May interact with blood pressure medications.
Zinc Sulfate - May interfere with glucocorticoids and other immunosuppressive drugs.

For more information on other therapies, including dietary supplements, aromatherapy and more, see the Complementary Therapies section on THE LUPUS SITE website - http://www.uklupus.co.uk/compindex.html

Copyright 2002 Joanne Forshaw / The Lupus Site

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