12 Dangerous Dietary Supplements
Germander to Yohimbe
Common name: Germander What it is used for: Often used in weight-control formulations Possible danger: Linked to abnormal liver function that is often irreversible Consumer Reports rating: Very likely hazardous Common name: Kava (or kava kava) What it is used for: Soothes stress and anxiety Possible danger: Linked to abnormal liver function Consumer Reports rating: Very likely hazardous Common name: Lobelia What it is used for: An herbal treatment for asthma, bronchitis, and coughing Possible danger: Difficulty breathing and rapid heart rates may result from its use Consumer Reports rating: Likely hazardous Common name: Organ/glandular extracts What it is used for: Treating disorders such as chronic hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus Possible danger: Theoretical risk of mad cow disease, particularly from brain extracts Consumer Reports rating: Likely hazardous Common name: Pennyroyal oil What it is used for: Used topically as an insect repellent and disinfectant and internally for digestive and liver disorders Possible danger: Associated with liver and kidney failure, nerve damage, convulsions, abdominal tenderness, and burning of the throat. Deaths have been reported even with ingestion of tiny amounts; even topical application can be dangerous. Consumer Reports rating: Likely hazardous Common name: Skullcap What it is used for: Relieves anxiety and insomnia Possible danger: Abnormal liver damage Consumer Reports rating: Likely hazardous Common name: Yohimbe What it is used for: A men's aphrodisiac sometimes referred to as "herbal Viagra" Possible danger: Blood pressure changes, heartbeat irregularities, and heart attacks have been reported with its use. Consumer Reports rating: Likely hazardous
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