One week before you have surgery or start chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you must stop taking any herbal or botanical home remedies or other dietary supplements because they can:
- Interact with other drugs
- Increase or lower blood pressure
- Thin the blood and increase the risk of bleeding
- Make radiation therapy less effective
- Lower the effects of medications that suppress the immune system
- Increase the effects of sedation or anesthesia
Below are examples of common herbs and a description of their effects.
- Can cause an allergic reaction such as a rash or difficulty breathing
- Can lower the effect of drugs used to suppress the immune system
- Can lower blood pressure, fat, and cholesterol levels
- Can prevent platelets (the blood cells that help stop bleeding) from sticking together, which increases the risk of bleeding
Gingko (also known as gingko biloba)
- Can change how platelets function, which can increase the risk of bleeding
- Can act as a stimulant, which can decrease the effects of anesthesia or sedation
- Can interfere with platelet function, which can increase the risk of bleeding
- Can lower blood glucose (sugar) level
- Can reduce the antitumor action of chemotherapy drugs
St. John's Wort
- Can interact with medications given during surgery
- Can make the skin more sensitive to laser treatment
- Can have a sedative effect, which can increase the effects of anesthesia or sedation
- Many herbal formulas contain different herbs. We don't know their side effects. You must also
stop taking these products 1 week before and during treatment
For more information about herbs and botanicals, visit the About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products website at mskcc.org/aboutherbs.
You can also download the Memorial Sloan Kettering About Herbs app from the Apple App Store at itunes.apple.com/us/app/about-herbs/id554267162?mt=8.
This information does not cover all possible side effects. Please share any questions or concerns with your doctor or nurse.