The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Reported lack of interaction between ginseng or ginkgo biloba and other drugs

    Research reported during the latest meeting of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics concludes that these herbals do not place people at risk for certain types of drug interactions.

    Here are the details.

    72 healthy adults were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups

    • Ginseng
    • Ginkgo biloba
    • Both herbs together
    • Placebo

    First, they took a 5-drug combination without the herbals and again with the herbals. The 5-drugs were used as surrogates for a broader range of interaction risk.

    The results show that “these herbal supplements do not alter how patients metabolize and clear drugs,” said Dr. Gregory Reed from Kansas Medical Center.

    The bottom line?
    My access to the results of this study is limited to a CNN article. Casual reading suggests that these herbals are perfectly safe, which they are not.

    This type of study design does not guarantee that ginseng or ginkgo supplements at recommended doses will be devoid of additive or synergistic therapeutic effects with other drugs. It simply estimates the likelihood of a pharmacokinetic interaction (altered absorption, metabolism, excretion) with other drugs. Here is one they might have missed.

    To his credit, Dr. Reed states, “We do not know if ginseng or ginkgo supplements at recommended doses can alter the effects of specific drugs in a patient.”

    For more complete information on the use and safety of ginseng go here and here. More information on ginkgo biloba is here and here.

    5/4/07 10:51 JR

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