Herbal Supplements: Efficacy, Toxicity, Interactions with Western Drugs, and Effects on Clinical Laboratory Tests / Edition 1

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This book focuses on efficacy, toxicity, drug interactions, and abnormal clinical laboratory tests resulting from the use of herbal remedies. Although a few herbal remedies are safe and have efficacy (for example saw palmetto), many herbal remedies are toxic. This book guides in the interpretation of abnormal test results in otherwise healthy subjects due to use of herbal remedies. Chapters focus on interactions between herbals and pharmaceuticals, sources of contamination in herbal supplements, and analytical techniques used in the investigation of herbal remedies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a wonderful addition to the field of laboratory medicine. You need this book if you ever have to answer questions on how herbal supplements affect clinical laboratory tests." (Doody's, 23 September 2011)

"Summing Up: Recommended. Medical students and clinicians." (Choice, 1 August 2011)

"Even though Americans rely increasingly on alternative medicine, herbal and traditional remedies do not undergo the testing for safety and efficacy as pharmaceutical drugs. In this book, editors Dasgupta (pathology and laboratory medicine, U. of Texas Medical School at Houston) and Hammett-Stabler (pathology and laboratory medicine, U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) present a balanced and comprehensive introduction to herbal supplements, emphasizing the pharmacological interactions between herbal supplements and Western pharmaceuticals". (Booknews, 1 June 2011)

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Valerie L. Ng, PhD MD(Alameda County Medical Center/Highland Hospital)
Description: This book is exactly as advertised — a comprehensive treatise on herbal supplements and their efficacy, interactions with Western drugs, and effects on clinical laboratory tests.
Purpose: It is intended as a comprehensive resource on herbal supplements, known toxicities, and impact on clinical laboratory tests. The latter is a rather unique area not addressed well by current resources.
Audience: The book is dedicated to healthcare workers, who presumably are the primary audience. It would be useful to anyone interested in complementary and alternative medicine — healthcare professionals (MDs, nurses, medical laboratory scientists, clinical toxicologists, clinical chemists, and other allied healthcare professionals) as well as the lay public. The editors and authors are well-respected authorities in their fields of expertise.
Features: This is a really helpful book. It is divided into five sections. The first is an introduction and overview; the second covers effects of herbal remedies on specific organ systems; the third, drug interactions; the fourth, contamination of herbal remedies with toxic chemicals; and the fifth, analytical issues (interferences with therapeutic drug testing, laboratory detection of plant poisoning). The writing is concise and clear. The similarly formatted chapters give the book a unified style. Despite delving into thorough and detailed literature reviews, the writing is very accessible and (yes) riveting. I very much enjoyed learning lots of new material, such as the untoward effects of common seasonings (e.g., garlic, ginger, fruit juices) on drug levels and metabolism, the relatively unrecognized excess iodine consumption related to kelp ingestion, etc. This truly is a fascinating book.
Assessment: This is a wonderful addition to the field of laboratory medicine. You need this book if you ever have to answer questions on how herbal supplements affect clinical laboratory tests.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470433508
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/2/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Amitava Dasgupta is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and the director of clinical chemistry, toxicology, and point of care testing at the Memorial Hermann Hospital, the main teaching hospital of the medical school. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry and a prolific author and editor.

Catherine A. Hammett-Stabler is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also the Director of the Core Laboratory of the McLendon Clinical Laboratories, UNC Health Care. Dr. Hammett-Stabler has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and books.

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Table of Contents




1 Introduction to Complementary and Alternative Medicine 3
Catherine A. Hammett-Stabler

2 Relatively Safe Herbal Remedies 19
Angela M. Ferguson and Uttam Garg

3 Risk of Toxicity Associated with Unregulated Herbal Products 45
Steven W. Cotten


4 Herbal Medicines with Immunomodulatory Effects 75
Jeffrey K. Actor

5 Kelp and Thyroid Function 125
Bruce Rosenzweig

6 Herbal Remedies and the Patient with Chronic Kidney Disease 135
Mariana S. Markell

7 Abnormal Liver Function Tests Due to Hepatotoxic Herbs 155
Amitava Dasgupta and Catherine A. Hammett-Stabler

8 Homeopathic Medicine: Principle, Efficacy, and Toxicity 169
Amitava Dasgupta

9 Indian Ayurvedic Medicines: An Introduction 193
Amitava Dasgupta

10 Tradition and Perspectives of Greco-Arab and Islamic Herbal Medicine 209
Bashar Saad and Omar Said

11 Licorice and Laboratory Tests 255
Salvador F. Sena


12 Drug Interactions with St. John's Wort 275
Matthew D. Krasowski and John L. Blau

13 Drug-Herb Interactions in Patients with HIV/AIDS 291
Natella Y. Rakhmanina and John N. van den Anker

14 Interactions between Fruit Juices and Drugs 305
Amitava Dasgupta

15 Drug Interactions with Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng 321
Ashok Tholpady and Semyon A. Risin

16 Drug Interactions with Garlic and Ginger Supplements 333
Charbel Abou-Diwan and James Ritchie


17 Heavy Metal Toxicity and Herbal Remedies 353
Christine L. H. Snozek and Loralie J. Langman

18 Adulteration of Herbal Remedies with Conventional Drugs: Role of the Clinical Laboratory 369
Uttam Garg and Angela M. Ferguson

19 Beyond Herbals: An Introduction to Poisonous Plants 387
Catherine A. Hammett-Stabler


20 Interferences of Herbal Remedies with Immunoassays for Therapeutic Drugs: Focus on Digoxin 407
Amitava Dasgupta

21 Role of the Clinical Laboratory in Detecting Plant Poisoning 425
Ronald W. McLawhon


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