Twenty articles were considered, majority of which discussed St. John’s wort. Among the articles, the mechanism of interaction was pharmacokinetic in nature. The cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes and the P-glycoprotein transporter were induced by the herbs’ active components. Since these proteins are important in the metabolism of majority of drugs, interfering with their activity by the herbs results to an increased or decreased uptake of drugs. Since herb-drug interaction is highly likely, government health, and food and drugs sectors should start regulating herbal products, and health care practitioners should be aware of such interactions so that they could advise their patients about it.
Herbal medicines are plants and its parts that are used for their scent, flavor, and/or therapeutic purposes. They contain varying amounts of active components that influence their beneficial properties. The Food and Drug Administration classify them as dietary supplements; hence, no regulations are placed upon the products (Bressler, 2005).
Herbal medication use has been steadily increasing globally. In the United States (US), the use of self-prescribed medication increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 12% in 1997, while patients consulting herbal medicine practitioners increased form 10.2% to 15.1%. Reasons for using herbal products include 1) efficacy and safety outlook, 2) accessibility since it is a non-prescription drug, 3) idea that it is organic, 4) desperation and dissatisfaction with conventional drugs, and 5) lower cost (Bressler, 2005). Despite using herbal products, only half of the users notify their doctors about it (Foti, wahlstrom, & Wienkers, 2006).
With the growing number of users of herbal products despite the non-regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, a lot of health institutions are bothered of the possible effects of herbal products on users, especially on herb-drug interaction.