Herbal Supplements and Their Dangers

Here are some common herbal supplements, along with their common names and some of the risks associated with them.

Chaparral
Common names: Creosote bush, greasewood, hediondilla, jarilla, larreastat 
Liver damage, liver failure, death

Comfrey
Common names: Black root, blackwort, boneset, bruisewort, consound, gum plant, healing herb, knitback, knitbone, salsifly, slippery root, wallwort
Skin sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, liver damage, liver cancer, death

Ephedra
Common names: Brigham tea, cao mahuang, desert herb, epitonin, herbal ephedrae, joint fir, ma huang, Mexican tea, Mormon tea, muzei mu huang, herbal ecstasy, sea grape, squaw tea, yellow astringent, yellow horse
Skin sensitivity, dermatitis, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, rapid heart beat, high blood pressure, irregular heart beat, stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrest, insomnia, headache, dizziness, loss of concentration, tremors, confusion, seizures

Kava
Common names: Ava, awa, kava-kava, kao, kavain, kawa, kew, long pepper, malohu, maluk, meruk, milik, sakau, tonga, yagona, yangona
Yellow skin, blurred vision, red eyes, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, blood in urine, shortness of breath, high blood pressure

Pennyroyal
Common names: American pennyroyal, mosquito plant, pudding grass, stinking balm, squawmint, tickweed
Skin sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, cramps, liver damage, kidney damage, high blood pressure, tiredness, confusion, dizziness, seizures, coma, death, abortion

Lobelia
Common names: Asthma weed, bladderpod, emetic herb, gagroot, Indian tobacco, pukeweed, rapuntium inflatum, vomit root, vomit wort
Skin sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, heartburn, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, tremors, dizziness, headache, difficulty sleeping, seizures, cough, coma, death

Scullcap
Common names: Blue pimpernel, helmetflower, hoodwort, mad-dog weed, scutellaria
Skin sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, liver damage, tremors, confusion, seizures

Yohimbe
Common names: Corynanthe johimbe, johimbe, johimbi, quebrachine, yohimbehe, yohimbine
Skin sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, kidney damage, high blood pressure, rapid heart beat, headache, dizziness


References: Herr, Sharon, M., Herb-Drug Interaction Handbook, second edition, Church Street Books, Nassau, New York, 2002; Skidmore-Roth, Linda, Mosby' s Handbook of Herbs & Natural Supplements, Mosby, St. Louis, Missouri, 2001.