Herbs and Liver Damage
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Sabrina
Posted on: February 12, 2002

I was watching a program on TV about herbs and a lady said that some herbs would damage your liver. So, can you please tell me if the herbs I am taking are bad for me? Fenugreek, Wild Yam, Saw Palmetto, and Fennel Seed. I am taking all of this 1 pill. I’m taking this to enlarge my breast. I fill alot better since I have been taking these pills even though I’m taking them for breast enlargement. I thought all herbs were good for you. Thank you for your time.

It is a common misconception that all herbs are good for you. Herbs do have an effect on the body, which is why they work, and have been used for thousands of years, to heal illness. It is especially important to know all of the effects of a herb taken in pregnancy, as many herbs may cause the fetus to abort.

Each herb has many effects. The herbs in your pill have been used traditionally to enlarge breast size. Other actions in your herbs include: digestive support (Fennel, Fenugreek); anti-inflammatory (Fennel, Wild Yam, Fenugreek); muscle relaxant (Wild Yam); liver support (Wild Yam); intestinal healing (Fenugreek); urinary antiseptic (Saw Palmetto).

In cases where liver damage from a herb is reported, it is generally not known whether the cause is the herb, extracted constituents of a herb, herbs contaminated with unreported ingredients, overdose or long term use. Herbs that may cause liver damage are: Kava Kava (this is a new finding from Germany, and it is not yet known whether all the cases had previous liver disease or whether the cause of liver damage was due to the particular herbal preparation, whether the cases cited took large doses of Kava over long periods of time, or whether there is some constituent in Kava that may promote liver damage); Comfrey, Coltsfoot and Life root contain pyrollizidine alkaloids that can cause liver damage when taken over long periods of time or by children or pregnant mothers; Chaparral has been reported to cause liver damage.

When using herbs for healing, natural practitioners assess their patients for changes with the herbal formulas taken by a patient, and change the formula as required. I recommend that you take a break from your breast enlargement pills to allow your body to return to its normal balance.

For more information on herbs reported to cause liver disease, please go to our website at http://www.richters.com, choose "Q&A" from the main menu, then choose "Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses" and search for the item " Herbs Contraindicated in Liver Disease". Another item, "Are Breast Enhancement Herbs Harmful?" discusses the estrogenic effects of a breast enhancement formula.

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