Asteraceae: Drug Interactions, Contraindications, And Precautions

Patient survey data from Canada, the U.S., and Australia show that one in five patients use prescription drugs concurrently with CAM. The inherent polypharmaceutical nature of complementary and alternative medicine increases the risk of adverse events if these complementary and alternative medicine either have pharmacological activity or interfere with drug metabolism. Since confirmed interactions are sporadic and based largely on case reports, advice to avoid certain drug-CAM combinations is based on known pharmacological and in vitro properties. Known Hypersensitivity to Asteraceae Cross-reactive sesquiterpene lactones are present in many, if not all, Asteraceae. Patients with known CAD from one plant may develop similar type IV reactions following contact with others. Affected patients are often advised to avoid contact with all Asteraceae, yet this advice is based on limited knowledge of cross-reactivity between relatively few members of this large family. Some authorities recommend avoiding Asteraceae-derived complementary and alternative medicine if, for example, the patient is known to have IgE-mediated inhalant allergy to ragweed. While a reasonable approach, this ignores a number of important facts: (1) Read more […]

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea Tree Oil: Medical Uses Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also used for acne. Historical Uses In folklore, tea tree oil has been used for its antiseptic effects and to treat fungal infections and coughs. During World War II, 1 percent tea tree oil was used to prevent skin injuries in munitions factory workers in Australia. Growth A tea tree is a small tree or shrub with heads of stalkless yellow or purplish flowers. Part Used • Leaves, extracted by steam or water distillation. Major Chemical Compounds • Linalool • Terpinolene • Alpha-terpineol, made up of primarily monoterpenes and alcohols. Tea Tree Oil: Clinical Uses Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and antifungal properties. It also is used for acne and herpes simplex. Mechanism of Action Major chemical compounds in tea tree oil are active against Candida albicans (), trichophytons, Staphylococcus aureus, and Trichomonas vaginalis (). Tea Tree Oil: Dosage Acne: Use a swab to apply directly to acne cysts twice daily. Avoid the eye area. Onychomycosis: Use a swab to apply to fingernails or toenails twice daily. Avoid getting oil on the skin. Contraindications • Tea tree oil should not be Read more […]

Vulvovaginal Candidiasis

Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), commonly referred to as yeast infection, is the second most common cause of vaginitis in the United States. Approximately 75% of all women will experience an episode of VVC in their lifetime, with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis occurring in 5% of women. It is most commonly caused by the fungus Candida albicans; however, other Candida species, such as C. tropicalis and C. glabrata are becoming increasingly common, possibly because of increased use of OTC anti-fungals, and they are also typically more resistant to antifungal treatments. OTC antifungal treatments are among the top 10 selling OTC medications in the United States with an estimated $250 in annual sales. Establishing Candida as a cause of vaginitis can be difficult, because 50% of all women have Candida organisms as part of their normal vaginal flora. Candida is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, and conventional medical practice does not include treatment of male partners unless uncircumcised or presenting with inflammation of the glans penis. recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis is defined as four or more episodes annually. Recurrence may be a result of associated factors, intestinal microorganism reservoir, Read more […]


ANTIFUNGAL AGENTS are antimicrobial drugs used to treat infections caused by fungal microorganisms. They may be antibiotics produced naturally, or purely synthetic. Fungal infections are not usually a major problem in healthy, well-nourished individuals. But, superficial, localized infections, such as thrush (caused by Candida albicans), and athlete’s foot and ringworm (caused by Tinea fungi of the dermatomycoses group), are common. These can readily be treated with topical application of antifungals. Severe infections occur most frequently where the host’s immunity is low, e.g. following immunosuppression for transplant surgery or in AIDS. Unfortunately, the most potent antifungal drugs taken systemically tend to be toxic. Amphotericin is a complex amphoteric polyene ANTIBIOTIC that binds to cell membranes and forms a pore through which ions can pass, with consequences that include loss of potassium ions from within the cell. Since the antibiotic binds more readily to fungal cell membranes than mammalian, its action is relatively selective. It can potentiate the action of certain other antifungals, and it may be used with flucytosine. Also, it confers antifungal activity on rifampicin (normally antibacterial). As Read more […]