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Herbal Drinks: the New Liquid Drugstore?
What Is Being Added?
|Ginkgo||Enhance memory and mental alertness|
|Echinacea||Stimulates the body’s defenses|
|St. John’s Wort||Enhances mood|
What to Keep in Mind When Consuming Functional Drinks
- Drink in moderation—Though the amount of added ingredients is very small, do not overdo it. Drinking excessive amounts of these beverages or consuming them regularly over a long period of time may lead to problems.
- Know your allergies—If you are allergic to an herb, you may have a reaction regardless of the amount of the herb in the drink.
- Watch the extra calories—Some of these drinks, particularly sodas and juices, may contain several hundred calories in a bottle. If you enjoy flavored drinks, try the flavored waters, which have fewer calories.
- Be cautious about what you are consuming—Learn about safety issues that may be associated with herbs. For example, kava has been banned in some countries (not in the US) because of case reports of liver damage and St. John's Wort has been found to interact with many prescription medications.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine http://nccam.nih.gov
US Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov
Health Canada Food and Nutrition http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Barnes J, Winter G. Stressed out? Bad knee? Relief promised in a juice. New York Times. May 27, 2001.
Herbs at a glance. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/herbsataglance.htm. Updated January 20, 2014. Accessed February 4, 2014.
Jacobson M, Silverglade B, Heller I. Functional foods: health boon or quackery? West J Med. 2000;172(1):8-9.
Questions and answers about energy drinks and health. Food Insight website. Available at: http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Questions%5Fand%5FAnswers%5FAbout%5FEnergy%5FDrinks%5Fand%5FHealth%5F. Published May 31, 2011. Accessed February 4, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2014
- Update Date: 02/04/2014