Supplements - Vitamins and Minerals

health supplements

The following Lamberts Professional supplements are available at discount prices from our own Herbactive Store

Ascorbic acid powder 250g 

Fast dissolving, fine soluble powder
This pure powdered form is the most economical way to buy vitamin C. It is also the easiest to use as it can be added to drinks where it is fast dissolving. Powders are ideal for those who find tablets difficult to swallow or those who require large amounts of this vitamin. This product has a refreshing sharp taste similar to fruit acids such as lemons and limes, and is ideally suited for fortifying fruit juices and squashes. Vitamin C contributes to collagen formation for the normal function of the skin, gums and the immune system. It also contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. Daily intake: 1 to 3grams (¼ tsp = 1000mg)
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Omega 3, 6, and 9 1200mg 120 capsules

Plus Vitamin D 5µg
This formula has exceptional levels of omega 3, 6 and 9 and also includes a full 5µg of vitamin D; a vitamin well known to support the normal function of the immune system. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential in the diet and whilst the omega-9 fatty acids are not classed as essential, a supplement containing the correct balance of all three can be useful for some people.
This unique formulation therefore emphasizes the omega 3s obtained from oily fish (rather than the less well absorbed alpha linoleic acid source used by many companies), with each capsule providing a full 379mg of these essential fatty acids. The level of EPA at 196mg and DHA at 127mg is significantly higher than many other 3, 6 and 9 products that are available. DHA and EPA support the normal function of the heart and in addition, DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal vision
A soft capsule
Each capsule delivers:
Blend of UK concentrated Fish Oil, Starflower Oil
& Olive Oil   1200mg
Providing:
Omega 3 Fatty Acids    379mg
Of which:
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)  196mg
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) 127mg
Omega 6 Fatty Acids of which:
Linoleic Acid 125mg
Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) 66mg
Omega 9 Fatty Acids of which:
Oleic Acid 200mg
Vitamin D3 5ug
Encapsulated With : Capsule Shell (Gelatin Glycerin)
Disintergration time: Less than 30 minutes
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Calcium ascorbate 250g

Calcium ascorbate is a gentle non-acidic form of vitamin C. The soluble fine crystals also provide a useful amount of calcium. Powders are ideal for those who find tablets difficult to swallow or those who require large amounts of this vitamin.
The soluble fine crystals can be easily added to drinks or sprinkled on to foods, and each gram provides almost 900mg of vitamin C plus just over 100mg of calcium.
Vitamin C contributes to collagen formation for the normal function of the skin, gums and the immune system. It also contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
Daily intake: 1 to 3grams
Per ¼ tsp (1g): Vitamin C 897mg, Calcium 103mg
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Curcumin ultra

CurcuWin 500mg providing 100mg curcuminoids. Take 1 tablet daily. 60 tablets 
One-a-day Turmeric Extract
Lamberts® Curcumin Ultra contains a technically advanced turmeric extract that has been specially prepared to greatly increase its absorption from the digestive system.
One established problem with curcumin is that it does not easily dissolve in water and it is this feature of the compound that is believed to significantly limit the amount that can be absorbed from our digestive systems. For this reason, we have carefully selected a turmeric extract with ‘enhanced absorption’.
Lamberts® Curcumin Ultra contains CurcuWIN® which is manufactured utilising proprietary UltraSOL™ technology. This is a molecular dispersion process that enhances the bioavailability of poorly absorbed nutrients and increases water dispersibility of fat soluble ingredients such as curcumin.
Importantly, this product provides the curcuminoids in the same profile as they are naturally found in turmeric.
An orange coated oval tablet.
Typically per tablet:
CurcuWIN®                                                                          500mg
providing:                                                                                   
Curcuminoids                                                                      100mg

Tableted With: Bulking Agents: DiCalcium Phosphate, TriCalcium Phosphate and Povidine, Crosslinked Cellulose Gum, Antioxidant: Mixed Tocopherols, Anti-caking Agents: Magnesium Stearate & Silicon Dioxide, Glazing Agents: Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose & Hydroxypropyl Cellulose, Colours: Titanium Dioxide & Riboflavin, Polypropylene Glycol.
Disintegration Time: Less than 1 hour.
Suitable for vegetarians.
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Vitamin D3 4000 iu (100ug)

120 capsules
recommended by the Department of Health for the following groups of people:
pregnant and breastfeeding women
all adults over the age of 65years
anyone not exposed to much sun

Functions: vital for the absorption of calcium and phosphorous; necessary for bones and hard tissues.
Deficiency Symptoms: pain or weakness in muscles, bones and hard tissue; excess can damage the kidneys.

These are small, easy to swallow capsules, which are made in the UK to pharmaceutical GMP standards.
Our bodies obtain vitamin D from two sources, our diet and from the action of sunlight on our skin which drives the natural production within the body. Vitamin D is increasingly in the news as more and more research highlights the importance of this nutrient. Lamberts® also produces vitamin D 1000iu (25µg) tablets that are often recommended to anyone who is known to be deficient in vitamin D.
Ingredients: sunflower seed oil, glycerine oil capsule. Suitable for vegetarians.
Daily Intake: 1 tablet with a meal.
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Liquid imuno-strength 500ml 

Delicious blend of Elderberry, Rosehip and Blackcurrant Concentrates.
Imuno-Strength® is a tasty natural blend of elderberry, rosehip and blackcurrant concentrates carefully formulated to retain the nutritive properties off the fruits. This delicious ‘syrup’ can be taken straight of the spoon or added to drinks. It can be taken by all ages from 5 years and upwards as a great way to boost the intake of powerful plant compounds called flavonoids.
One type of flavonoid called anthocyanidins are believed to be particularly useful and are highly regarded by most nutrition scientists. Anthocyanidins are the dark red and blue colours found in many fruits and seeds and a huge amount of studies have been carried out to investigate their significance in relation to our immune system.
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L-Glutamine 500g powder              

High quality powder in the natural free-form
Lamberts® powdered L-Glutamine is an easy and affordable way to supplement the diet with this fascinating amino acid as the recommended dosage is often 5grams, an amount that would fill 10 capsules. Lamberts® L-Glutamine is a mild tasting pure powder that can be easily mixed with drinks or sprinkled on food.
Glutamine is a building block for protein and is used to build or preserve muscle or prevent muscle wastage. It is the most abundant naturally occurring non-essential amino acid in the body and it can be derived from glutamic acid, another member of the amino acid family. Both glutamine and glutamic acid can be found in protein-rich foods such as red meat, nuts and fish. Different tissues in the body have different requirements for L-Glutamine and the most eager consumers of glutamine are the cells of intestines, whilst muscles are known to be high producers of L-Glutamine.
Closely related to glutamic acid and gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA).
Recommended for large bowel disorders. (Colitis, Crohns, IBS, Ulcerative colitis)
Do not take if pregnant or breast feeding.
Daily intake: 5-10 grams. Mix into water or fruit juice half hour before food or before bedtime.
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Pomegranate concentrate 500ml 

Pomegranate juice contains a wide range of powerful antioxidants including polyphenols and ellagitannins. Indeed Pomegranate exceeds most other conventional fruits in its ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), making it one of the richest and most powerful antioxidants available.
Pure red grape concentrate has been included in Lamberts® Pomegranate Concentrate as it is a rich source of polyphenols and the sweet flavour balances the sharp taste of the pomegranate. This high strength combination of pure pomegranate and red grape concentrate makes Lamberts® one of the strongest available, making it perfect for those with a high antioxidant requirement who prefer not to take tablets. Plus it tastes delicious.
A dark red liquid.
Ingredients:
Pomegranate juice concentrate Red Grape juice concentrate Potassium Sorbate.
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Zinc 15mg (as citrate)

180 tablets
Lamberts® Zinc 15mg is an ideal supplement for long term use and the citrate form of zinc is known to be readily absorbed. These small easy to swallow tablets are made in the UK to pharmaceutical GMP standards.
Zinc is an essential nutrient and contributes to the normal function of the immune system, normal fertility and reproduction and the maintenance of normal vision. It is also recognised as contributing to the maintenance of normal hair, skin and nails.
One in three adults in the UK receives less than the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for zinc. This is largely a result of refining processes which remove up to 90% of the available zinc content from cereal grains, along with the trend to eat less animal-derived protein.
Best sources: oysters, liver, brewers yeast, shellfish, meat, hard cheese.
Functions: growth, insulin activity, release vitamin A from liver, in metabolism of pituitary, adrenals, ovaries and testes, development of skeleton, nervous system and brain in growing foetus, maintaining healthy liver function.
Deficiency Symptoms: eczema of face and hands, hair loss, mental apathy, defects in reproductive organs, particular testes, decreased growth rate, impaired mental development, post-natal depression, congenital abnormalities in new-born, loss of sense of taste/smell, white spots on nails, susceptibility to infections.
Therapeutic Use: treating acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, prostate problems, mild mental complaints, to decrease blood fat levels, schizophrenia, hyperactive children, common cold, anorexia nervosa. Useful for: GI wall; prostate gland; protein synthesis and collagen formation; healthy skin; immune system; tissue repair; acuity of taste and smell; proper concentration of Vit A in blood.
Daily Intake: 1 tablet
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The following is for information and not in our online store. You can request us to send you any supplement by sending an email to us.

VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS PROFILE

VITAMIN A
Best sources: halibut liver oil, liver; peaches, apricots, watermelon, green veg, dairy fats. Beta-carotene: carrots, magoes, papaya, peaches.
Functions: sight, skin, mucous membranes, anti-infective, protein synthesis, bones, anti-anaemia, growth.
Deficiency Symptoms: spinal infections, respiratory infections, scaly skin and scalp, poor hair quality, poor sight, burning itchy eyes, pain in eyeballs, dry eyes, eye ulceration.
Therapeutic Use: Skin abnormal cell formation, gastric ulcers, acne, eczema, psoriasis.

VITAMIN B1 thiamin
Best sources: brewer’s yeast, brown rice, wheatgerm, nuts. Seeds and the outer coats of grains
Functions: coenzyme in converting glucose into energy in muscles and nerves. Thiamin is used to release energy in cells.
Therapeutic Use: improves mental ability, insect repellent, indigestion, improves heart functions, alcoholism, lumbago, sciatica, trigeminal neuralgia, facial paralysis, optic neuritis. For those who drink or smoke heavily, whose work is physically strenuous or young people during rapid spurts of growth.
Dose: 50-600mg daily

VITAMIN B2
Colours urine yellow
Best sources: yeast extract, brewers yeast, liver
Functions: coenzyme in converting protein, fats and sugars into energy. Repairs and maintains body tissues and mucous membranes. Reduced by alcohol, tobacco, the Pill.
Deficiency Symptoms: bloodshot eyes, ‘grit’ under eyelids, tired eyes, light sensitive, cracks and sores in corners of mouth, inflamed tongue and lips, scaling of skin around face, hair loss, trembling, dizziness, insomnia, slow learning.
Therapeutic Use: mouth ulcers, gastric and duodenal ulcers, eye ulceration

VITAMIN B5 pantothenic acid
Best sources: dried brewers yeast pigs liver, yeast extract, nuts
Functions: cannot be synthesised by man. coenzyme A in: production of energy, productions of anti-stress hormones, controlling fat metabolism formation of antibodies, maintaining healthy nerves, detoxifying drugs. Used in the production of corticosteroid hormones by the adrenal glands and in cholesterol metabolism. During demanding situations, this vitamin often enables us to cope better biochemically.
Deficiency Symptoms: aching, burning throbbing feet, loss of appetite, indigestion, abdominal pain, respiratory infections, fatigue, insomnia, depression psychosis, headaches.
Therapeutic Use: RA, paralytic ileus, allergic skin reactions, reduction of mucous secretion in respiratory allergies, stress situations.

VITAMIN B6 pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine
Best sources: dried brewers yeast, wheat bran, yeast extract, wheatgerm, oatflakes.
Functions: involved in more bodily functions than any other single nutrient, and is often used by women as a pre-menstrual food supplement. B6 helps with the transport off the commonly deficient mineral magnesium. It is necessary in the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and the absorption of fats and protein. Coenzyme in amine acid metabolism. Needed for formation of brain substances, needed for formation of nerve impulse transmitters. Blood formation. Energy production. Anti-depressant. Anti-allergy.
Deficiency Symptoms: split lips, inflamed tongue, scaly skin on face, inflamed nerve endings, migraine, mild depression, irritability, breast discomfort, swollen abdomen, puffy fingers/ ankles
Therapeutic Use: PMT, depression associated with Pill, morning sickness (max. 25mg), travel sickness, radiation sickness, antidote to hydrazine, infantile convulsions, skin lesions of face, anaemia, bronchial asthma skin allergies.
Dose: max. 200mg

VITAMIN B12
Best sources: pig’s liver, pigs kidney, fatty fish, pork, beef, lamb, white fish, eggs, cheese.
Functions: coenzyme. Needed for synthesis of DNA. Maintains healthy myelin sheath, detoxifies cyanide in food and tobacco smoke. It participates in the rapid regeneration of bone marrow and red blood cells.
Deficiency Symptoms: smooth, sore tongue, tremors, psychosis, metal deterioration, menstrual disorders, anaemia.
Therapeutic Use: pernicious anaemia, moodiness, poor memory, paranoia, mental confusion, tiredness, appetite stimulant
Dose: 3ug

FOLIC ACID
Formed from glutamic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid etc. Synthesised by intestinal bacteria and is involved in cell division in both plants and animals. Closely linked with that of B12.

VITAMIN B COMPLEX
Best sources: foods of animal, plat and micro-organism origin.
Functions: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, biotin, folic acid and B12, etc. Effective energy production from foodstuffs. They act as act as co-enzymes for macro nutrient breakdown or catabolism, releasing energy.
Deficiency Symptoms: see above.
Therapeutic Use: Health and maintenance of the adrenal glands, liver, skin and hair, effective production of red blood cells and haemoglobin. Important before and during pregnancy. Healthy nervous system. Demanding lifestyle, endocrine imbalances, poor dietary intake, heavy drinkers.

VITAMIN C
Best sources: acerola cherry juice, rosehip syrup, blackcurrents, guavas, parsley, kale, horseradish, broccoli tops, green peppers.
Functions: anti-oxidant, promotes iron absorption from food, maintains healthy collagen, provides resistance to infection, controls blood cholesterol levels, makes folic acid active, produces anti-stress hormones, produces brain and nerve substances, maintains healthy: bones, teeth, blood system, sex organs.
Deficiency Symptoms: weakness, lassitude, muscle and joint pains, irritability, bleeding gums gingivitis, loose teeth, haemorrhages in skin, eyes nose.
Therapeutic Use: iron deficiency anaemia, bleeding under the skin, respiratory diseases, bleeding gums, psychiatric states, colds and influenza, abnormal cell formation, high blood cholesterol levels, anti-histamine, alcoholism, arthritis and leg cramps. Cell and tissue repair. Essential in collagen maintenance in skin, bones and teeth. Protects vits A and E against damage. Maintains normal blood cholesterol levels. Antioxidant. Involved in formation of corticosteroid hormones in the adrenal gland.

VITAMIN D
Best sources: the sun
Functions: vital for the absorption of calcium and phosphorous; necessary for bones and hard tissues.
Deficiency Symptoms: pain or weakness in muscles, bones and hard tissue; excess can damage the kidneys.
Therapeutic Use:only needed if you're confined indoors.

VITAMIN E
Best sources: wheatgerm oil, soya bean oil, maize oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil.
Functions: antioxidant, reduces oxygen needs of muscles, anti-blood clotting agent, blood vessel dilator, maintains healthy blood vessels.
Deficiency Symptoms: children irritability and water retention; adults: lack of vitality, lethargy, apathy, lack of concentration, irritability, decreased sexual interest, muscle weakness.
Therapeutic Use: intermittent claudication, cerebral thrombosis, coronary thrombosis, atherosclerosis, varicose veins, thrombophlebitis, menstrual problems, low fertility, skin ulcers, diabetic gangrene, nerve joint and muscular complaints, sickle-cell anaemia, cystic breast disease. Direct application to: scar tissue, stretch marks, sunburn, burns, scalds.

BIOTIN
Produced by intestinal bacteria. Primarily used to assist with normal growth and development of the skin, hair, nerves and bone marrow.

BORON
Maintains the balance of oestrogen, the hormone involved in calcium deposition in the bones.

CO-ENZYME Q10
Normal and essential component of the mitochondria. Health of all human tissues and organs. Made in the body. Mitochondria are the energy generators of the cells especially in liver, muscle tissue and the heart. Useful for: athletes, the elderly, those on weight loss diets, those with an active lifestyle.

CHOLINE
Water-soluble member of the vit B complex, synthesised in the liver.
Best sources: lecithin granules, liver, egg yolk, wheatgerm, brewers yeast, cereals, nuts.
Functions: fat-stabilising agent, precursor of betaine, needed in metabolism, acetylcholine, nerve substance, component of lecithin. Precursor to acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter.
Deficiency Symptoms: fatty liver, nerve degeneration, senile dementia, high BP, reduced resistance of infection, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, stroke, high cholesterol.
Therapeutic Use: angina, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, stroke, high BP, Alzheimer’s, senile dementia.

KELP
Excellent source of minerals and iodine. Potassium, sodium, calcium nitrogen, sulphur, magnesium, phosphorus, and micro-minerals. Iodine is required by thyroid for production of thyroxin.
Useful for those who eat little or no fish, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Slimmers to maintain stable weight. Health of scalp and hair. Teenagers and young people who have a finicky diet especially during growing periods.

LECITHIN
Best sources: liver, meats, fish, eggs, butter, wheat, soya, peanuts, corn, oats, rice.
Functions: solubilises fat, mobilises fat, prevents fat build up in organs, constituent of fatty membranes, constituent of myelin sheath, provider of choline, provider of inositol. Important in the healthy functioning of the nervous system and GIT.
Therapeutic Use: high BP, cholesterol, solubises gallstones, atherosclerosis, preventative treatment following: angina, heart attack, stroke; treats senile dementia/Alzheimer’s disease.

L-GLUTAMINE
Closely related to glutamic acid and gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA).
Recommended for large bowel disorders. (Colitis, Crohns, IBS, Ulcerative colitis)

MAGNESIUM
Best sources: Soya beans, nuts, brewers yeast, whole wheat flour, brown rice, sea foods, dried fruits, veges, greens.
Functions: cofactor in many body processes including energy production and cell replication. Stabilises body cell structure in growth. Repairs and maintains body cells. Cofactor in hormones. Component of chlorophyll. Nerve impulse transmission.
Deficiency Symptoms: weakness, tiredness, vertigo, convulsions, nervousness, muscle cramps and tremors, tongue jerks and tremors, involuntary eye movements, unsteady gait, hyperactivity in children, irregular heartbeat, palpitation, low blood sugar, painful swallowing.
Therapeutic Use: PMT, menstrual cramps, toxaemia of pregnancy, morning sickness, hypoglycaemia, atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, angina, abnormal and irregular heartbeats, epilepsy, alcoholism, kidney stones, insomnia, hyperactivity in children. Essential for: bone growth and health; metabolism of carbohydrate to release energy; nerve impulse transmission and brain function; normal muscle function including the heart.
Dose: around 400mg best taken at night before bed.

NUTRIHAIR FOR WOMEN (FLORISENE of Lamberts UK)
When taken according to the dosage instructions there will be a period of 12-16 weeks before hair shedding is reduced. From that point hair volume will start to increase. However, it takes months for the hair to grow to a length that contributes to hair volume but patients are generally well motivated to follow the regime. Contains: Vit.C 24mg; B12 6ug; Iron 24mg; L-Lysine 500mg.

PLAYFAIR (of Lamberts UK)
For 4 to 14. With sufficient quantities of vitamins and minerals to prevent deficiency in the diet. With blackcurrant and raspberry flavour.

POTASSIUM
Water regulatory system, maintaining normal heart rate and in keeping muscle function healthy. For people on diuretics.

PYCNOGENOL

SELENIUM
Helps the body make glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme which has an important antioxidant role in the body.

ZINC
Best sources: oysters, liver, brewers yeast, shellfish, meat, hard cheese.
Functions: growth, insulin activity, release vitamin A from liver, in metabolism of pituitary, adrenals, ovaries and testes, development of skeleton, nervous system and brain in growing foetus, maintaining healthy liver function.
Deficiency Symptoms: eczema of face and hands, hair loss, mental apathy, defects in reproductive organs, particular testes, decreased growth rate, impaired mental development, post-natal depression, congenital abnormalities in new-born, loss of sense of taste/smell, white spots on nails, susceptibility to infections.
Therapeutic Use: treating acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, prostate problems, mild mental complaints, to decrease blood fat levels, schizophrenia, hyperactive children, common cold, anorexia nervosa. Useful for: GI wall; prostate gland; protein synthesis and collagen formation; healthy skin; immune system; tissue repair; acuity of taste and smell; proper concentration of Vit A in blood.

All these vitamins, minerals, as also all the amino acids, microminerals and thousands of nutrients can now be taken in just a teaspoon a day as whole multi-herbal powder - unless it is essential, don't buy any more tablets or capsules as supplements; stop taking all these unnecessary binders, glazing agents and fillers found in tablets.
Instead, I recommend you get the organic herbal powder and feel the healthy difference. Find out all about this amazing herbal health powder, click here ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus

 

 

Related Products

Ascorbic acid powder 250g
£15.95
Calcium ascorbate 250g powder
£17.95
Curcumin ultra 500mg providing 100mg curcuminoids 60 tablets
£30.95
L-Glutamine 500g powder
£30.95
Omega 3, 6, and 9 1200mg 120 capsules
£16.95
Pomegranate concentrate 500ml
£16.95
Vitamin D3 4000 iu (100ug) 120 capsules
£10.95
Zinc 15mg (as citrate) 180 tablets
£7.95

 

 


Prescriptions

Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.

Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.

Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.

MRCHM - see Alan Hopking's statement about renouncing his association with membership of this organisation

HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436

General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK

• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.

PRECAUTIONS:

Pregnant/Breast-feeding mothers

Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.

Volatile Oils

Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.

Uteroactivity

A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.

Breast-feeding mothers

A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.

Paediatric Use

Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.

Perioperative use

The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK

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