Before Surgey, Doctors Should Ask About Patients' Herbal Medicine Use

While physicians and surgeons may ask patients about use of prescription medicines prior to surgery, they need to also inquire about patients' use of common herbal or dietary supplements, according to research in the July 11 Journal of the AMA. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that use of echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St. John’s wort and valerian may cause complications during surgery. These could include: irregular heart rhythms, increased bleeding, and dangerous interactions with prescription medicines.