Herbal products are also known as dietary supplements, alternative therapies, complementary medicine, and homeopathic health care. Some of the most common herbal products are: ephedra, feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng, Kava, and St. John's Wort. There are few instructions on proper use and dosage requirements, and little information about possible side effects, toxicity and possible drug interactions. While many herbal products offer noticeable health benefits when used correctly, takingherbal products right up until the day of your procedure/surgery may have an impact on the success of your anesthetic and procedure. Concerns may arise when herbal products interact with anesthetics. Some of the potential side effects are increased surgical bleeding, heart and blood pressure effects, reaction with sedatives and changes in the body's reactions to certain medications.
STOP taking the herbal product at least two weeks prior to the scheduled procedure or surgery to prevent side effects. Inform your surgeon and anesthesia provider that you are taking an herbal product. Offer accurate information about any herbal products you are taking. When asked about your medication history, include all herbal products, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, minerals, and teas. If you are not sure of the contents of an herbal product, then bring the product and the container it comes in with you for the preoperative anesthesia interview. Make sure that someone close to you is aware that you take an herbal product. In the event that you need emergency care, this person will need to share this information with your health care providers. Realize that herbal products need to be treated as medicine. Even if the product is natural, it still may be harmful when combined with anesthetics.
Popular Herbal Products and Possible Side Effects when Interacting with Anesthetics