Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in New York, reviewed non-drug treatments.

Let’s focus on herbals.


Here’s what we know.

  • Mistletoe extract
    • Reduced blood pressure in animal studies.
    • May be toxic at high doses.
  • Extract from Hawthorn
    • Produces a slight reduction in blood pressure.
  • Herbals that my increase blood pressure.
    • St. John’s wort
    • Ephedra/ma huang
    • Yohimbine
    • Licorice

The bottom line?

The authors caution, “The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary and herbal supplements the way they regulate traditional pharmaceuticals.”

It’s important to be aware that the safety of these products is not rigorously established and that formulations can vary.

For example, the problems with St. John’s wort are summarized here.

9/6/11 21:54 JR

Hi, I’m JR

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.