Which herbs should be avoided when taking medication?

Which herbs should be avoided when taking medication?

The Palais des thés organized a tasting at the Center hospitalier de Cornouaille. ©Adèle LE BERRE

Green tea is often presented as a mine of benefits: antioxidant, tonic… However, people taking cancer drugs should avoid consuming this tea as it can decrease the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiotherapy and increase the toxicity of chemotherapy treatments.

For some years, the onco-haematology department of the Cornouaille hospital center conveys this message to his patients.

Black tea tasting

This Monday, September 19, 2022, he invited the Palais des thés to organize a tasting. Thus, the 14 hospitalized patients and those coming to the day hospital were able to discuss the teas to consume and more broadly on the plants to avoid, those to favor…

“Certainly green tea is not indicated when taking treatment, but there are many other teas (black, white, etc.) of very different origins which pose no problem. I am here to help patients discover them”, commented François Gibet, representative of the Palais des thés.

A national experiment

The approach of the onco-haematology department is innovative:

“Since 2018, on the initiative of the team of pharmacists, we have received patients to give them a list of plants to avoid, but also to talk about food education, treatment… Since 2021, we have joined the Onco network ‘link. It is a national experiment for patients on oral cancer drugs. The ambition is to extend this support more widely. »

Doctor Lénaïg Le Clech, internal doctor, blood diseases and infectious disease.

The list of plants to avoid when taking anticancer drugs is long: garlic, aloe vera, chamomile, milk thistle, turmeric, fennel, fenugreek, chasteberry, ginger, ginko biloba, ginseng, pomegranate, mistletoe, hawthorn, echinacea, fucus, dandelion…

Some plants reduce the effectiveness of the treatment, others interfere with the treatment…

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No grapefruit or fennel

“People taking long-term antibiotic treatment or anticoagulants should also be careful about the plants they consume in the form of capsules, herbal tea food supplements, etc.”,

Mathilde de Oliveira Lopes, assistant pharmacist.

Certain foods are also to be avoided for these patients: grapefruit, pomelo, bitter orange, fennel, star fruit, lime. Finally, it is recommended not to abuse fresh garlic, turmeric combined with pepper, ginger, pomegranate, flaxseed oil…

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