Why You Should Tell Your Doctor What Supplements You Take

Before you undergo any form of surgery it is extremely important to tell your doctor or surgeon if you are taking any herbal medicine. This is because some herbal medicines affect blood flow and the speed that blood clots due to their blood thinning qualities. Examples of such herbs include: Cat’s Claw (which also affects the functioning of immunosuppressive drugs), Cranberry, Feverfew, Garlic, Ginger, Glucosamine and St John’s Wort. All of these herbs affect the action of Warfarin, a strong pharmaceutical drug which thins the blood.


Pre-surgery questionnaires should contain a field where patients can declare any complementary medicine they have been taking. It is important that every questionnaire includes this section, as patients will often fail to mention any complementary medicine or treatments they are using. Patients might fail to give this information for one of two reasons. Firstly, the patient may be embarrassed to mention they are taking a herbal medicine as they think their doctor may frown upon the usage of herbs. The second reason is that the patient may not even consider it important to mention that they are using a herbal medicine, assuming that natural supplements don’t interact with allopathic medicine.  Failure to mention any complementary supplements you are taking could leave you at risk of potentially dangerous side effects or contraindications. Any contraindication or side effects from the herbal medicine you are taking may affect your wellbeing significantly, especially as far as blood thinning medicines are concerned.


It is far better for you to avoid the risk of contraindications and always tell your doctor or surgeon about any herbs or complementary treatments you are taking, however seemingly innocuous. Don’t fall for the common misapprehension that herbal supplements are benign simply because they are naturally sourced. It is always best practice to keep your doctor informed of exactly what you are taking and how much per day as this may affect your wellness when taking herbs with other medicine.

Comments are closed.