Top 9 Herbal Hazards in Anesthesia

Herbs are products made from plants used to treat disease or improve quality of life. Herbal supplements have been used for centuries, but their use in western and eastern societies is increasing. Herbal products have intrinsic pharmacological activity and side effects that when combined with medications can have severe adverse effects. It is estimated that as much as 20% of the population in the United States consumes herbal supplements, and 70% of those taking herbal supplements fail to tell their physicians (Ruiz & Maldonado, 2014). With the increasing use of herbal supplements and patients’ failure to mention them to providers, there is a definite need to ask patients pre-operatively for their use of supplements to prevent potential adverse events. Due to the lack of research, the American Society of Anesthesiologists has determined that there is insufficient data to provide exact dosage recommendations for individual herbs; therefore, we have reviewed the literature to examine the safety, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics of the top nine herbs most frequently seen among patients.