Will Echinacea Interfere with Drugs?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Carol
Posted on: February 18, 2005

I want to boost my immune system and my fiancÚ tells me to take Echinacea. I am also though on prescriptions of Paxil CR and Ziac and Fosamax. Will Echinacea have any adverse effects on the prescriptions I am on? Since it is a natural herb, I do not think it will, but I prefer to check before I take it.

Ziac is a beta-blocker used for high blood pressure, so should not be used with herbs that lower blood pressure unless advised under regular treatment with a qualified clinical or medical herbalist or naturopath. Ziac causes drowsiness and dizziness, so should not be used with sedative herbs. Ziac also causes skin sensitivity, so should not be used with St. John’s wort, which in rare cases causes skin sensitivity.

Paxil is an antidepressant/anti-anxiety drug. It should not be used with sedative herbs. Fosamax is a drug used for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, with side effects that include inflammation of the digestive tract. When taking fosamax, you should avoid other products that irritate the digestive tract. That includes strong essential oils like oregano oil and thyme oil.

Echinacea act on the immune system. It does not affect the nervous system or blood pressure, and it is not irritationg to the digestive system. There is no reason why echinacea should be contraindicated with these drugs. Because herbs are natural does not mean that they are all safe or that they can all be taken with drugs. In general, unless advised by a qualified natural health practitioner, you want to avoid herbs that affect the nervous system and the blood pressure. You also want to avoid herbs that have the same actions as any side effects that are listed on the information sheet that comes with your drugs.

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