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Reply To: Herbal Therapeutics

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Hi Stephanie,

This is a very good question and it’s great that you are aware and asking about it, because herb drug interactions are commonly overlooked.
So in terms of other potential contraindicated herbs:
Pharmaceutical MAOI’s are contraindicated, therefore I would say that herbs with MAO inhibitory action could also be contraindicated. Some MAOI active herbs are: Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra and G.uralensis), Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala) Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), Kava Kava (Piper methysticum), Hops (Humulus lupulus), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris), Spearmint, Wintergreen, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Cilantro & Marjoram!
That is quite along list and I can’t say that you should avoid all of these plants, but I would say approach with some caution. Remember pharmaceutical MAOI’s (which are actually contraindicated) and herbal MAOI’s are not the same, and dose will be important to consider. I think that having some rosemary, sage or cilantro on your food would be absolutely fine, but maybe take caution if you are thinking of taking a therapeutic dose of Rosemary tincture for e.g.

Another set of herbs that would be worth using major caution with (I would say they are contraindicated) is stimulant herbs, especially nervous system stimulants, such as Ephedra (Ephedra sinica).

This is not a herb, but there is a contraindication with Concerta and alcohol, so you might want to consider tinctures and dosing, whether there is an alternative form to take the herbs in.

These are a few things that came up in my books and search (surprisingly little), it may not be all of the contraindications, so I would suggest taking it slow and with small doses when trying new herbs out that you are unsure of.

Wishing you fun and safety with the plant exploration through the course,