Author + information
- Received August 20, 2001
- Revision received December 27, 2001
- Accepted January 11, 2002
- Published online April 3, 2002.
- ↵*Reprint requests and correspondence:
Dr. Elsa-Grace V. Giardina, Division of Cardiology, Room PH3-346, Department of Medicine, Columbia University, 630 West 168th St., New York, New York 10032, USA.
Because the use of herbal therapies in the U.S. is escalating, it is essential to be aware of clinical and adverse effects, doses and potential drug-herb interactions. A consumer poll in 1998 indicated that one-third of respondents use botanical remedies, and nearly one in five taking prescription medications also used herbs, high-dose dietary supplements or both. An estimated 15 million adults are at risk for potential adverse interactions involving prescription medications and herbs or vitamin supplements, yet most practicing physicians have little knowledge of herbal remedies or their effects. Herbal products are marketed without the proof of efficacy and safety that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires of drugs. The Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act of 1994 allocates responsibility to manufacturers for ensuring safety and efficacy with no specific requirements to submit documentation. Manufacturers may state a product’s physiologic effects but may not make claims for the treatment or cure of specific diseases. Consumers and practitioners have little information about product safety, contraindications, interactions or effectiveness and are reliant on manufacturers to provide accurate labeling. Recently, the growing number of foods with herbs has raised concerns at the FDA, which requires evidence that food additives are safe. Considering that the growing appeal of herbal remedies is likely to continue, physicians, particularly cardiologists, must become familiar with the available cardiovascular information on herbs. This review highlights the existing data on the efficacy, adverse effects and interactions for herbal therapies that impact on the cardiovascular system.
☆ This study was supported in part by grant HL-07046 from the Department of Health and Human Services; grant RR-00645 from the Research Resources Administration; grant P50-AT00090 from the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Aging, Bethesda, Maryland; and a grant from Linda and Peter Nisselson, New York.
- Received August 20, 2001.
- Revision received December 27, 2001.
- Accepted January 11, 2002.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation