For people wanting to avoid dangerous pharmaceuticals, a vast selection of natural therapies and herbal supplements are available for just about every condition.  But just because they are ‘natural’ doesn’t imply that you can take them like they’re Flintstones vitamins. Many times these supplements are just as potent (if not more) than mainstream drugs.

You need to exercise caution when taking supplements.
High quality supplements are powerful, or else they wouldn’t be as successful as they are. The results could be serious if they interact with any other medication you may be on. In addition, some supplements have potentially dangerous side effects on their own, so be careful if there is an underlying condition to the one you want to treat.

Listed below are three common supplements, though effective, could possibly be toxic.  Please use special care when taking these.

Yohimbe – Yohimbe is advertised as a sexual enhancement supplement. It is taken as an aphrodisiac and also used to treat erectile dysfunction. Other claims include promoting weight loss, relieving depression, and boosting energy levels. The problem with yohimbe is that it can cause a rapid heart rate and spike in blood pressure, which could instigate serious heart complications.

Yohimbe is said to be beneficial for fat loss, muscle building, and strength enhancement, some recent small trials have shown this to be accurate.

Some side effects include minor complaints, such as headaches and tension. Yohimbe should be avoided for anyone with high blood pressure or kidney disease. Also, women who are, or could become pregnant, might be at danger for abortion if they take this supplement.  In addition, if you are currently using nasal decongestants or any substance that could contain ephedrine, do not take yohimbe.

Bitter Orange – Bitter orange is sold as a weight-loss supplement and as a treatment for allergies. The possible problem with bitter orange is that it consists of chemicals similar to those found in ephedra. This means your blood pressure and heart rate could rise to hazardous levels.

The most common complaints of bitter orange include fainting and migraine headaches. There is also a danger of stroke or heart attack. It’s wise to avoid taking bitter orange with caffeine or other medications that also increase heart rate and blood pressure. Do not take bitter orange if you’re taking any over-the-counter medications.

Lobelia – People take lobelia as a natural remedy for asthma and bronchitis. It’s also used as an anti-spasmodic, expectorant, diuretic, and stimulate. It’s been said to reduce inflammation and stimulate respiration.

However, it is potentially toxic and special care is advised when using it. Overdosing can cause a weakened pulse, heartburn, difficulty breathing, weakness, and collapse. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, seizure disorder, or tobacco sensitivity, you should not take lobelia.

It is advised that before taking any supplement, you should always consider your overall health, and if the supplement can interact with any other over-the-counter or prescription medication. A doctor knowledgeable about natural and alternative health may be the best one to counsel you.