Can Herbal Supplements Cause Immune System Depletion?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: July 4, 2003

Hello, May you answer a question for me please. My husband has taken a Male Enhancer for about 1 year and a half. In November 2002 he started to get weak and he went partially paralyzed from waist down. The doctors said that he had a condition called CIDP. And the doctors said something was causing the condition. They said his immune system was down very low and the doctors said he had HIV. Is it a chance that it was the herbs that brought his immune system down so low. Because four months after he stopped taking the herbs his immune system is almost normal and he is able to walk normally once again. He is also steroid dependent and stopped taking Prednisone and took the herbs instead, but when he got off the herbs and started taking the Prednisone his CIDP improved. My question is: could the herbs have given him the same symptoms as the HIV. A couple of people who deal with herbs said that it may have been the herbs. I have no other symptoms of HIV.

I can’t say whether the herbal combination you were taking could have been a factor in your husband’s symptoms.  

CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) is a gradual weakening of the peripheral nervous system. The cause is difficult to determine.

Although herbs are natural, they must be taken with care.  I recommend that you research any herb you intend to take, looking for dosage recommendations, side effects and contraindications.  In the herbal combination you were taking, there are some cautions.  For example, contraindications for taking Ginseng are nervous tension or anxiety, hypertension, hypoglycemia and caffeine consumption. Prolonged use of Ginseng weakens the system, causing high blood pressure, stressed adrenal glands, hormone imbalance, nervousness and diarrhoea. The usual recommendation is to take Ginseng only for three weeks, then take a two week break before two weeks off.

Most of the herbs in your supplement are stimulants. The human body only has so much reserve that can be stimulated before it becomes depleted. A good herbal formula usually works to nourish the body, and uses stimulating herbs, if necessary, only for a short period of time.

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