Effects of Herbal Supplements on the Kidney

Wendell Combest; Marian Newton; Austin Combest; June Hannay Kosier


Urol Nurs. 2005;25(5):381-386. 

In This Article


The increased patient use of alternative medicine requires the nurse to be aware of potential risks and benefits that alternative medicines may offer. Nephrotoxic plants containing aristolochic acid and djenkol bean must be avoided in all patients but especially in renal-compromised patients. Other herbal remedies such as licorice root, senna, cascara, and rhubarb may alter serum potassium values or increase the risk of kidney stones high in oxalic acid. Transplant patients must be made aware of the potential risk of complications from Echinacea and St. John's wort as these medicinal plants may cause a decrease in the effect of immunosuppressant drugs. In summary, the nurse plays a vital role in monitoring the ingestion and effects of herbal supplements in the renal-compromised patient.


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