Have you been avoiding seeking treatment for depression because
you're worried about side effects from medication?
a class of depression medications called SSRIs (selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that tend to have fewer side
effects than some of the older anti-depressant drugs. Some
people experience slight nausea, jittery feelings or sexual
dysfunction at first, but the symptoms often disappear over
the dose or changing to a different medication can usually
correct symptoms that are especially bothersome.
The National Institute of Mental Health, 2001
of Herbal Interactions
We often think of herbs as safe and natural, but you actually
have to be pretty careful about what you're taking. Herbs
contain substances that can cause allergic reactions, side
effects and adverse interactions.
garlic, which is available as a supplement in many health
food stores, can cause bleeding in people who are taking blood-thinning
medications. And ginseng can cause a reduction in blood sugar
in people taking diabetes medications.
to tell your doctor about any herbal products you use and
any medications you take.
J. Brody, D. Grady, et al. The New York Times Guide to Alternative
Health. Times Books, Henry Holt and Company, New York, New
York, 10011., 2001
during Cold Season?
Echinacea is an herbal alternative therapy that many healthcare
professionals and researchers believe helps the immune system
fight off colds. It's believed to work best if you take it
at the first sign that you're getting a cold. For many people,
a sore throat is one of the early indicators.
find echinacea in health food stores or other whole foods
markets. It's sold in tea, tablet or tincture (in a medicine
bottle with a dropper).
appears to be safe for individuals with healthy immune systems.
It's not a good idea for people with suppressed immune systems,
such as those with HIV/AIDS or autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid
arthritis, lupus, etc.) to take this herb.
National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements,
Ginseng is a dietary supplement sold in health food stores
and whole foods markets. People often say they use it to make
them feel mentally alert. It's from the root of the panax
ginseng plant, which grows in Russia, parts of Asia and
parts of North America.
does have properties that stimulate the central nervous system
and may also stimulate the immune system. But if you're thinking
of using it as a replacement for coffee, you should know that
you'll still suffer from caffeine withdrawal, even if the
ginseng works well for you.
to talk to your doctor before you take ginseng to make sure
it will not interact unsafely with any other drugs you may
J. Swerdlow. Nature's Medicine: Plants that Heal. National
Geographic, Washington, D.C., 2000.
How Much is Too Much?
How do you know if you're getting too much caffeine?
guideline is to limit yourself to 200 to 300 milligrams per
day, or about two cups of coffee. Caffeine can irritate your
stomach and cause headaches and insomnia. It can irritate
the bladder in some people as well.
forget that soft drinks are also a common caffeine source.
adults should limit caffeinated drinks in favor of milk, water
and maybe a little fruit juice.