Herbal, Drug and Food Interaction

Homeopathy and Mental Health

Dr. Alok Kumar Shukla* & Dr. Papiya Bigoniya

International Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine

*Department of Phytochemistry and Pharmacognosy, Radharaman College of Pharmacy, Radharaman Group of Institutions, Bhadbhada Road, Ratibad, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, INDIA.

All medicines were derived from natural materials in the ancient time (1).  Most of those early medicines are described under the broad heading “herbs,” although that term may prove misleading.  Even though people often think of herbs as plants or plant-derived materials, several commonly used items were obtained from animals and minerals.  Further, although the term “herbs” suggests something that is beneficial and has little potential for harm, numerous toxic materials were used, such as foxglove, deadly nightshade, and jimson weed (Datura).  Herbalists sometimes processed the herbs to change them from their original form. As the science developed the researchers attempted and succeeded to isolate some active constituents from herbs, so that the end products were not as nature presented them.  For example, aconite was processed extensively in China to reduce its toxicity so that it could more readily be used, and borneol, the active constituent found in a few tropical plants, was isolated centuries ago in relatively pure form, a translucent crystal, for both internal and external use.   The use of potent and toxic substances and the intentional alteration of natural substances are characteristics of production of modern drugs.  Thus, some issues that arise today about interactions of herbs and drugs may have already been encountered in earlier times when herbs were combined with each other (2).
The ancient Indian system of Ayurveda is practicing in India since 1500 BC, the main aim of this system is to preservation of normal health and curing the diseased one. Ayurveda has focused on patient safety and benefits. In fact it is known that drug safety is a very basic and fundamental concept in medical practice. The current raised issue with respect to Alternative medicine and Ayurveda is increasing reports of Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) related to herbal medicine (3). This may be due to increase in number of people taking herbal products either as a medicine or as a nutritional supplement. Such reports many a times neglect to identify the cause behind the event which can be pertaining to variety of issues which are already considered in Ayurveda but are neglected many a times either due to ignorance or negligence. There is mis-belief that natural drugs are safe and devoid of toxicity. But this is not true as Ayurveda states that every material in the universe is medicine and thus exerts one or the other therapeutic effect if utilized properly. But injudicious use may alter the action of drug, the intensity of which may be mild to severe or unpredictable. Also activity could be synergistic, decreased, antagonistic action or increase in the bioavailability.

Keywords: Herbal, Drug and Food Interaction

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