Herb Contraindications & Drug Interactions..
Article Type: Book Review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Head, Kathleen
Pub Date: 10/01/2001
Publication: Name: Alternative Medicine Review Publisher: Thorne Research Inc. Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2001 Thorne Research Inc. ISSN: 1089-5159
Issue: Date: Oct, 2001 Source Volume: 6 Source Issue: 5
Topic: NamedWork: Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions (Book)
Persons: Reviewee: Brinker, Francis
Accession Number: 80490872
Full Text: Herb Contraindications & Drug Interactions Francis Brinker, ND Eclectic Medical Publications, 36350 SE Industrial way, Sandy, OR 97055 ISBN-1-888483-11-3; soft cover; 432 pgs. $25.92

Francis Brinker, ND, has been providing me with valuable herbal information for 20 years, since he was a professor of botanical medicine in the naturopathic medical school I attended. Over the years, with his books and lectures, he has made many significant contributions to our database of knowledge, particularly in terms of potential herbal toxicities and herb/ drug interactions. His latest edition of the book, Herb Contraindications & Drug Interactions, is the most comprehensive compilation of material on these subjects I have seen to date.

The first half of his book is comprised of botanicals from A-Z (Acacia to Zingiber), with a comprehensive list of known contraindications and potential drug interactions of 245 botanicals or botanical extracts. Each potential interaction or contraindication is followed by from one to several references. The author notes whether the information was gleaned from a human study, animal research, in vitro evaluation, empirical knowledge, or is purely speculative based on known mechanisms of action. The following is an example of a portion of the bromelain entry:

"Improves efficacy of certain cancer chemotherapy agents such as 5-fluorouracil and vincristine, probably due to its fibrinolytic and antitumor effects of 1.0-2.4 gm daily (in vitro; PO in human clinical trials)."

The above entry represents only a fraction of the information on bromelain. Six full pages are devoted to St. John's wort -- potential contraindications and, in particular, to possible drug interactions. Because the issue of St. John's wort and its possible interference with prescription medications is frequently bandied about by the popular media as a reason not to use herbs, arming oneself with the facts is of utmost importance. With Dr. Brinker's book you can sort fact from fiction.

The second half of the book is comprised of very comprehensive referenced appendices including: (1) lists of herbs to be used with caution and why; (2) herb/drug interactions, listed on the basis of the interaction or effect (rather than by the herb); (3) herbs to be avoided by pregnant and nursing mothers; and (4) a list of vitamin/mineral/drug interactions.

Brinker has demonstrated his ability to integrate herbal and conventional medicine in a volume that provides an indispensable resource for anyone prescribing herbal and/or conventional medications. Keep it within easy reach for quick reference.
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.