Alternative Therapies

The information provided is for educational purposes only. In no way does Georgia Cancer Specialists endorse the use of these products during treatment.

Complementary & Alternative Therapies Commonly Used By Cancer Patients

Complementary and alternative therapies include the use of dietary supplements. Americans have increased their use of herbal, botanical, and natural product supplements over the past 30 years.

Patients being treated for cancer frequently are advised to begin taking supplements or herbs by well-meaning friends or family. It is best to discuss using any vitamin or herbal or supplement with your physician before taking it. Herbs or supplements could have side effects or interactions with your treatment or with other medications that may adversely affect your health.

Supplements are typically NOT recommended during treatment, except for a multivitamin. Many supplement companies advertise extreme claims that are not proven by scientific evidence. Dietary supplements are not monitored by the FDA, so you cannot be sure what you are buying is safe or effective, or if it even contains what the label claims is in the bottle.

Multi-vitamin/mineral supplements providing 100% of the Daily Value for each nutrient can be considered safe and likely adequate for healthy individuals, but it is important to evaluate individual need based on each cancer survivor’s diagnosis, symptoms and treatments. When a diet includes many fortified, enriched and functional foods, it may already be providing recommended nutrient needs.

If you are interested in learning more about dietary supplements, check out the web sites below:

Resources on Dietary Supplements

Herbs, botanicals and other products
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/treatments/symptom-management/integrative-medicine/herbs/search


Dietary supplement fact sheets
Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health
https://ods.od.nih.gov/


Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/home.aspx?cs=&s=ND&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1


Medline Plus
https://medlineplus.gov/


United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service USDA Food Composition Databases
https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/


U.S. Food and Drug Administration
https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/

Supplements

Patients being treated for cancer frequently are advised to begin taking supplements or herbs by well-meaning friends or family. Since they are natural medicines, the best advice is to discuss using any herb or supplements with your physician before you start taking it. Herbs or supplements could have side effects or interactions with other medications that may adversely affect your health.

Common Name (Scientific Name): Aloe ( Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis, Aloe capensis Topical- (Aloe vera Gel)Oral- (Aloe latex))

Uses: Topical- shown to be effective for promotion of wound healing, and for burn/frostbite treatment Oral- strong cathartics and rarely recommended for use. (1,2,9,10)

Interactions & Precautions: Topical- No side effects reported.Oral- can cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance, and hypokalemia. May potentiate toxicity of cardiac glycosides and thiazide diuretics. Contraindicated in pregnancy (reflex stimulation of uterine musculature) May color urine red. (1,2,5)

With chronic use/abuse due to loss in potassium, and increase of effectiveness of cardiac glycosides is Known Drug Interactions: possible as well as an effect on anti-arrhythmmic agents. Potassium deficiency can be increased by simultaneous application of thiazide diuretics, cortico-adrenal steroids, and licorice root (5)

Common Name: Alpha Lipoic Acid

Uses: Acts as an antioxidant preventing cellular damage from free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. The American Diabetes Association has suggested that Alpha Lipoic Acid plus vitamin E may be helpful in combating some of the health complications associated with diabetes including heart disease, vision problems, nerve damage and kidney disease. (8)

Interactions & Precautions: Although it appears to be safe as a supplement. There have been few studies done with Alpha Lipoic Acid in humans. Intakes of as much as 600mg per day have been used for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy with no serious side effects. (8) Radiation therapy and alkylating chemotherapy agents use oxidative damage to destroy cancer cells. Since large doses of antioxidant supplements may reduce the oxidative effect of the treatment they may not be appropriate during cancer treatment. (13)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name: Barley Green

Uses: Unsubstantiated claims to prevent or treat cancer. Powder made by dehydrating juice squeezed from barley grass, mixed with brown rice and kelp. Promoted as “salad in a glass.” Test results show there is no significant amount of any vitamin or mineral in 3 servings of barley green. (8)

Interactions & Precautions: NCAHF warns buyers to be wary of this multi-level marketed product with unsubstantiated claims. (8)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)

Uses: Shown to decrease luteinizing hormone (LH) decreases hot flashes, used to treat premenstrual discomfort and dysmenorrhea. (1,5,9,10)

Interactions & Precautions: May affect the hypothalamus-pituitary system. Contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation. May cause GI disturbances and hypotension. (1,5,9)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Carnitine (L-carnitine)

Uses: Claims to reduce body fat, promote muscle development and enhance exercise performance (8).

Interactions & Precautions: There is no evidence that supplementing with carnitine improves aerobic or anaerobic exercise performance. Humans usually synthesize adequate amounts of carnitine (8).

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa, Uncaria guianensis(Una de gato))

Uses: Efficacy is anecdotal. An alkaloid constituent has been shown to be hypotensive. (1,3,4)

Interactions & Precautions: Can inhibit platelet aggregation and should be used with caution in thrombocytopenic patients (3,4)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone or CoQ10)

Uses: Functions as a factor in mitochondrial respiratory chain, also an antioxidant. Made in the liver but also present in these food sources: mackerel, sardines, salmon, liver, beef, and peanuts. Benefits against heart disease and research is being done to determine if it is effective against cancer. (3)

Interactions & Precautions: No known toxic side effects, however, is an antioxidant so may not be appropriate in large doses when patients are receiving radiation and alkylating agents. (3)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Colostrum (Bovine Colostrum)

Uses: Claims to help boost immunity.

Interactions & Precautions: Some concerns about contamination.

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)

Uses: Is made in the adrenal glands and is a precursor to steroid hormones, adrenaline, estrogen, and testosterone. Claims to have less potential for androgenic conversion while providing an anticancer effect. (3)

Interactions & Precautions: Should not be used by people with prostate, breast, or ovarian cancer or those with a strong family history of those diseases. (3)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name: Don Quai

Uses: Claims to ease menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats) and reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). (8)

Interactions & Precautions: Some literature suggests that Don Quai acts as a phytoestrogen, but it does not appear to contain any estrogenic compounds. May increase photosensitivity. Not recommended for use by pregnant or lactating women. May increase bleeding time, so should be discontinued when menstruation begins. (8)

Known Drug Interactions: Do not use in conjunction with other blood thinning medications since Don Quai contains coumarins. (8)

Common Name (Scientific Name): Echinacea (Echinacea augustifolia, Echinacea pallida Purple Cone Flower)

Uses: Effective for prophylaxis and treatment of cold/flu symptoms. May work by stimulating the production of phagocytes. (1,3,6,,8,9,10)

Interactions & Precautions: Possibly becomes immunosuppressive with continuous use (6-8 weeks). Contraindicated in patients with autoimmune diseases. Parenteral use is not recommended (can cause chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, and allergies). (1,2,3,6,10)

Known Drug Interactions: Don’t take with corticosteroids (Decadron, Prednisone), Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune). May offset the effects of drugs that work to suppress the immune system (11).

Common Name (Scientific Name): Ephedra (Ephedraeherba, Ma Huang)

Uses: Clears up respiratory congestion; relaxes airways, stimulates the sympathomimetic and central nervous system.

Interactions & Precautions: Insomnia, motor restlessness, irritability, headaches, nausea, vomiting disturbances of urination, tachycardia. In higher doses: drastic increase in blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, development of dependency, and has been known to cause death. Do not use with cardiac glycosiies, guanethidine, MAOI’s (7).

Known Drug Interactions: Don’t take with caffeine or other stimulants, decongestants with stimulant ingredients such as phenyl-propanolamine (Triaminic or Poly Histidine-D) or pseudo-ephedrine (Sudafed). Taking ephedra with other stimulants can increase your risk of high blood pressure, nervousness, irregular heartbeat, or even heart attack or stroke. Don’t take with cardiac glycosides (Digitalis, Digoxin, Lanoxin) or MAOI’s (Nordil, Parnate) (7,11).

Common Name (Scientific Name): Essiac (Rumex acetosella L)

Uses: Traditionally used in Canada as a cure for cancer, but studies in the US found no anticancer benefits in animals. A blend of turkey rhubarb, sheepshead sorrel, slippery elm, burdock root, watercress, blessed thistle, red clover blossom, and kelp. (3,4)

Interactions & Precautions: Occasional nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea are noted side effects. (3) The herb burdock has been contaminated with belladonna in past, causing atropine poisoning, because the two roots look very similar. (4)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Evening Primrose (Oneotherabennis)

Uses: Shown to lower serum cholesterol. Shown to improve atopic eczema. Used as a gamma-linoleic acid supplement. Being studied for a variety of conditions (1,10).Essential fatty oil may aid in premenstrual comfort. (8,10)

Interactions & Precautions: Studies have shown no adverse reactions or toxicity. (1)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Garlic (Allium sativum)

Uses: Used to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the blood, may reduce the risk of esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer. Also has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity (8).

Interactions & Precautions: Some individuals may experience heartburn and flatulence. Intake of garlic supplements causes halitosis (8).

Known Drug Interactions: Has anticlotting properties so avoid intake of garlic supplements with Warfarin, Coumadin, Ticlid, and Ticlopidine (8).

Common Name (Scientific Name): Ginger (Zingiberis rhizoma)

Uses: Thought to possess carminative, stimulant, diuretic, and antiemetic properties. Symptomatic relief in pregnant women with nausea or hyperemesis (7).

Interactions & Precautions: Large overdoses carry potential for causing CNS depression and cardiac arrhythmias. Do not consume large amounts during pregnancy (7)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Uses: Dilates arteries, capillaries, and veins. Used to increase peripheral blood flow. May improve intermittent claudication. Used to treat varicosity, cerebral vascular insufficiency, dementia, tinnitus, vertigo, SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. May improve alertness and short-term memory. (1,6,,8,9,10)

Interactions & Precautions: Ginkgolide is a selective antagonist of platelet aggregation. May cause minor GI disturbances. Rarely, causes headache, dizziness, vertigo. (1,10)

Known Drug Interactions: Don’t take with Aspirin, Anticoagulant drugs like Coumadin (Warfarin), or any medications that list thinning of the blood as a potential side effect, or Vitamin E. Taking with other blood-thinning agents could increase risk for excessive bleeding or even stroke (11).

Common Name (Scientific Name): Ginseng (Panax ginseng (Korean ginseng) Panax quinque-folium (American ginseng))

Uses: May provide resistance to stress, lower blood cholesterol and improve LDL & HDL ratios. Some ingredients raise BP and some lower BP. (1,3,5,10)

Interactions & Precautions: Nervousness and excitation can occur for first few days of intake. Over use can cause headache, insomnia, and palpitations. Use caution in patients with hypertension. Estrogenic effects have caused vaginal bleeding and breast nodules. (1,2,3,4,9,10) Women with hormone-related cancers should probably avoid this herb until its protection effect is proven. (4)Concern with product quality issues (19).

Known Drug Interactions: Ginseng may decrease the efficacy of Warfarin or reverse the drug’s effects, according to a case report (11).

Common Name (Scientific Name): Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea, Solidago serotina, Solidago gigantea, Solidago Canadensis)

Uses: Used to prevent and treat urinary tract inflammation, urinary calculi, and kidney stones. (1,5,9)

Interactions & Precautions: Rarely causes allergies. (1)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Uses: Used traditionally to treat mucosal inflammation and gastritis. (1,3,9,10) Now promoted as an immune stimulant, but there is no supporting evidence. (3)

Interactions & Precautions: Contraindicated during pregnancy. High doses may cause nausea, diarrhea, CNS stimulation, and respiratory failure. (1,3)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Grape Seed Extract (Vitis Vinifera)

Uses: Has antioxidant properties reducing free radical damage and oxidative stress, suggesting that it may be particularly effective in reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and a number of chronic diseases associated with aging. Other claims include cardioprotection, improves vascular strength, reduces edema, and promotes eye health.

Interactions &Precautions: Seems to be safe when used as directed. No adverse side effects have been reported.

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Green Tea (Camelliasinensis L)

Uses: Contains polyphenols which protect cells from damage. Studies suggest that 4 to 6 cups a day may protect against cancer of the lungs, liver, pancreas, esophagus, breast, and skin. (3)

Interactions & Precautions: Linked with high rates of esophageal cancer if consumed heavily. Contraindicated in pregnancy. (2)

Known Drug Interactions: Has antiplatelet effect and should not be consumed by patients with thrombocytopenia or those taking aspirin or anticoagulants. (3)

Common Name (Scientific Name): Guarana (Paullinia cupana)

Uses: Used to increase energy levels, reduce fatigue, enhance physical and mental performance, promote weight loss, and suppress appetite (8).

Interactions & Precautions: Contains caffeine and may cause insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, tension, irritability, and nausea. Contraindicated for pregnant or lactating women (8).

Known Drug Interactions: Combining caffeine or caffeine-containing products with products containing ephedrine increases adverse effects (8).

Common Name (Scientific Name): Immunocal (HMS 90)

Uses: Claims to be an immune system booster, detoxifier, and antioxidant. It contains cysteine, an amino acid, and precursor to glutathione (an antioxidant in cells) (8).

Interactions & Precautions: People who consume a healthy diet should have adequate amounts of glutathione in their cells. Should be avoided by people with milk protein allergies and in those who have received an organ transplant (8).

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Inositol/ IP 6 (Inositol hexaphos-phate)

Uses: A component of fiber found in whole grains and legumes. Claims to magnify the benefits of a high fiber diet, providing an “anticancer” effect. Also makes claims of health benefits with kidney stone disease, heart disease, and hematology diseases (16,17).

Interactions & Precautions: None known, however, individual tolerance may vary (16,17).

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Kava Kava (Peper methysticin)

Uses: Sedative and sleep enhancement, Reduced non-psychotic type anxiety in patients, masticated kava causes numbness of the mouth.

Interactions & Precautions: Banned by the FDA (19). May adversely affect motor reflexes and judgment for driving. Do not use more than 3 months without medical advice. Dry, flaking, discolored skin; scaly rash; red eyes, puffy face; muscle weakness. Contraindicated in pregnancy, nursing, and endogenous depression (7).

Known Drug Interactions: Don’t take with alcohol, anti-Parkinson’s meds, antipsychotics, sedatives, sleeping pills. Can add to the effects of substances that depress the CNS, causing oversedation. Can also bring about tremors, muscle spasms, or abnormal movements that may decrease the effectiveness of anti-Parkinson’s medication (11).

Common Name (Scientific Name): Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Uses: Treatment of peptic ulcers (but not as effective as cimetidine). Anti-inflammatory properties (7).

Interactions & Precautions: Side effects include headache, lethargy, sodium, and water retention (contraindicated for high blood pressure); excessive excretion of potassium (2).

Known Drug Interactions: Don’t take with blood pressure medications, natural licorice (not Twizzlers)Can raise blood pressure, counteracting the effects of drugs used to treat HTN (11). Should not be used with spironolactone or amiloride; or with corticoid treatment (INR). Do not take with prescription medication or in the presence of an adrenal disorder (12).

Common Name (Scientific Name): Maitake Mushrooms (Grifola frondosa)

Uses: Claims to boost the immune system and limit or reverse tumor growth. Claims to enhances the benefits of chemotherapy and decrease side effects (18).

Interactions & Precautions: None known

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): MGN-3 (An extract from arabinoxylan from rice bran)

Uses: Claims to boost natural killer (NK) cell activity to protect cells from cancer. There is no research to support MGN-3 and cancer protection in humans. Also some unsubstantiated claims of curing cancer. (8)

Interactions & Precautions: None Known

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

Uses: Hepatoprotective and antioxidant. May be useful in treating inflammatory liver disorders, cirrhoses, and protect liver from damage from toxins. Not proven in human studies. (19) Since milk thistle acts as an antioxidant, it could also prevent the antitumor activity of chemotherapy and radiation (1,3,4,5,8,10).

Interactions & Precautions: Few adverse effects. Mild diarrhea, allergic reactions. Do not use in decompensated cirrhosis. (1)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): MSM (Methylsulfon-ylmethane)

Uses: Used for arthritis pain, increase growth hormone synthesis, stimulate immune function, support of connective tissue integrity (hair, nails) (8).

Interactions & Precautions: Considered safe (although not very effective)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Noni Juice (Morinda citrifolia)

Uses: Fruit of a tree which is native to the Polynesian islands. Native Polynesians ascribe healing powers of the juice and is therefore widely consumed in these countries. Claims to treat, cure, or prevent diseases such as diabetes, depression, hemorrhoids, and arthritis (8).

Interactions & Precautions: Noni Juice contains potassium. Persons with renal disease or those who are on potassium-restricted diets should check with their physician or registered dietitian before using this product.

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name: Oxygen Therapy

Uses: A cancer treatment based on the idea that cancer is caused by the lack of oxygen and can be cured by exposing cancer cells to more oxygen than they can tolerate. Two types:Ozone- claimed benefits are activation of enzymes that break down free radicals, and alteration of the internal metabolism of cells. Hydrogen peroxide- promoted as an immune stimulant and selective killer of weak, diseased cells. (3)

Interactions & Precautions: Ozone- has not been proven as beneficial, and if administered incorrectly there is potential harm and toxicity. (3)Hydrogen peroxide- any concentration greater than 3 % is potentially dangerous and ingestion can be fatal. The FDA has ruled this unsafe for human consumption and is only accepted for use as a topical cleansing agent. (3)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): PC-Spes ( Mixture of chrysanthe-mum, isatis, licorice, lucid gandermal, pseudogin-seng,rubes-cens, saw palmetto, and scute)

Uses: Used as a non-estrogenic treatment for cancer of the prostate. However, it has been found to have potent estrogenic activity. (8)

Interactions & Precautions: Recalled by manufacturer since product contained prescription medications- Warfarin and alprazolam (19). Avoid use of unregulated mixtures due to adverse side effects of estrogenic activity. May cause breast enlargement, tender nipples, blood clots. (8)

Known Drug Interactions: Recalled due to product containing Warfarin and alprazolam which should not be used unless prescribed by physician. (19)

Common Name (Scientific Name): Red Clover (Trifolium patense)

Uses: Claims of anticancer activity. Historically used to treat venereal disease (9).

Interactions & Precautions: Contains the isoflavone biochanin A which is similar to genestien, the isoflavone found in soy. May serve as estrogen agonist or antagonist. Patients with a history of hormone-related cancers should use caution (19).

Known Drug Interactions: May interact with tamoxifen, raloxifene, hormone replacement, or other estrogenic drugs (19).

Common Name (Scientific Name): Rose Hips (Rosa canina L, R. rugosa Thunb., R. acicularis Lindl., R. cinnamomea)

Uses: All are consumed for their Vitamin C content. They have antiscorbutic properties, mild laxative, and slight diuretic action. (10)

Interactions & Precautions: None known

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine)

Uses: Used to relieve osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and certain liver disorders (14).

Interactions & Precautions: High intake of methionine is associated with potential adverse side effects and can lead to high levels of homocystiene which is associated with a high risk for cardiovascular disease (8).

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Uses: Fruit extract shown to be effective for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Effects are on testosterone uptake and availability. Also, has anti-inflammatory effects. (1,9,10)

Interactions & Precautions: Rarely can cause upset stomach, mild headache. High doses can cause diarrhea. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation or in children. Effect on other hormone therapy not known. (1) May cause false (low) reading on PSA (19).

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name: Shark Cartilage

Uses: Popularity based on the misconception that “sharks don’t get cancer” and the presence of a protein in shark cartilage that inhibits angiogensis. (3,8) According to scientists, molecules of the active ingredients in shark cartilage sold are too large to absorb. (3)

Interactions & Precautions: May impair blood supply should not be taken if a patient has heart or blood vessel disease, pregnant, or recovering from surgery. (3)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name: Shitake Mushrooms

Uses: Is a fungus that possesses an anticancer substance called lentinan, which stimulates the immune system by affecting the T-lymphocytes, macrophages, and natural killer cells. It is being studied as an adjuvant therapy during chemo since it seems to decrease the cytotoxicity of treatment. (3,4)

Interactions & Precautions: May have adverse effects, including allergic reactions, contamination, or drug-herb interactions. (3,4)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Uses: May increase endurance.(1,5) Injectable form being studied to increase levels of T-cells.(1)

Interactions & Precautions: No adverse reactions reported. (1) May cause high blood pressure. (5)

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

Common Name (Scientific Name): Spirulena (Spirulina maxima, Spirulina platensis (Blue-Green Algae))

Uses: Prevents cancerous oral lesions, stimulates immune defenses and inhibits replication of certain viruses, prevents heart disease (lowers cholesterol), provides antioxidants and other nutrients, increases energy and mood, improves weight loss (8).

Interactions & Precautions: Some people have had allergic reactions to spirulena. Select spirulena from a well-respected manufacturer that performs regular screening to rule out heavy metal contamination. Vitamin B12 in Spirulena is not readily absorbed, so should not be used as a B12 supplement (8).

Known Drug Interactions: Spirulena has anti-clotting factors. Don’t take with blood thinners such as Coumadin or Heparin.

Common Name (Scientific Name): St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Uses: Shown to be effective for treatment of mild to moderate depression. May have sedative and anti-inflammatory activity. (1,5,9,10)

Interactions & Precautions: May have monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) activity. May cause photodermatitis. Is thought to increase serotonin levels. Don’t take with Prozac or other antidepressants. (1,5,9,10). Reduces plasma levels of irinotecan (20).

Known Drug Interactions: Reduces plasma levels of irinotecan (20).Don’t take with antidepressants. There is some concern that herbal and prescription antidepressants could interact with each other and lead to adverse side effects. Don’t use together without consulting MD.

Common Name (Scientific Name): Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Uses: Restlessness, sleeping disorders based on nervous conditions, muscle relaxant. Reduced sleep latency; improved perception of sleep quality. Weakly binds GABA and benzodiazepine receptors in vitro. May also inhibit degradation of GABA (7).

Interactions & Precautions: Mild headache, excitability, uneasiness. High doses may cause severe headache, nausea, morning grogginess, blurry vision. Do not take with sedatives, anxiolytics or alcohol. Use caution when driving or operating machinery (7).

Known Drug Interactions: Don’t take with alcohol, sedatives, sleeping pills. May add to the effects of sedatives, especially benzodia-zepines like valium (11).

Common Name: Wheatgrass

Uses: Used to cleanse the body, neutralize toxins, slow the aging process, and makes claims that it may prevent cancer. Clinical studies are lacking for all of these claims (8).

Interactions & Precautions: Generally safe, even for those with wheat allergies, however, it does not contain gluten which is responsible for most allergic reactions (15).

Known Drug Interactions: Unknown

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