Doctors prescribe prescription medications for their patients daily. Most will check to see if their patients are taking any other prescriptions that could be contraindicative to what they want to prescribe. In doing so, this helps that patient to get the results that they are anticipating from the medication. This also assures that if there are interactions with the medication that is to be prescribed, that they are minimal or no harmful interactions.

It is imperative that you tell your healthcare provider about all the prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal medicines that you are taking or want to take (it’s a good idea to tell them about any drugs you’re taking even if they are illegal). Some people believe that you can take prescription drugs with any kind of herbal medication that you want, and everything should be fine. For them, the thought is that herbs are natural and should not be harmful to the body. Also, one may think that pharmaceutical drugs are man-made and cannot harm the body because of scientifically proven studies with federal stamps of approval of their effectiveness, and the notion that the doctor knows best. If you watch television, then you have probably seen the many side effects that come from all the manufactured drugs and the many things you need to watch out for if you’re taking them.

The fact is that even though herbal supplements may come from natural sources, they can interact with prescription medicine in undesirable ways. This reminds me of an episode that I saw of “Veep” where the vice president takes some prescription medication for anti-depressants, and later has an accident and takes some St. John’s Wort to help with pain. The result was that she was high and unable to perform her duties. While I found that show to be humorous, when someone is experiencing an herb-drug interaction that is unsafe, it is no laughing matter.

Poison Ivy is natural and comes from the earth and while there are some people who can roll around in it and truly be fine, I would not want to do that or consume it. Natural does not necessarily mean safe! It’s been said that chamomile may increase bleeding and that may not be good for those who take aspirin or blood thinners. That’s just one of many undesirable examples of interactions with herbs and pharmaceuticals.

It’s important to know that if you use your food as medicine and take prescription drugs, then you may ingest something that can interact with prescription medications. So, it’s not only prescription pills and herbal pills that we’re talking about. For me, the idea of being aware of herbs and prescriptions really is more of a focus of being aware of what we put in our bodies. Whether it’s what we ingest, inhale, inject or absorb, however we get things into our bodies, we need to do our own research and protect the vessels that we have to help us navigate through this life here on earth.