The effect of herbal medicines on platelet function

An in vivo experiment and review of the literature

Benjamin W. Beckert, Matthew J. Concannon, Steven L. Henry, Daniel Smith, Charles L. Puckett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Herbal medicines are used by a considerable number of surgical patients. An increased risk of bleeding, substantiated by anecdotal reports, has been attributed to the use of certain herbs, and numerous in vitro experiments have identified some herbal extracts as platelet inhibitors. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether standard commercial preparations of commonly used herbal medicines have an effect on platelet function in vivo and, by extension, to provide clinical scientific evidence of the safety of their use in the perioperative period. METHODS: Five commercially available herbal agents were investigated, including Ginkgo biloba, garlic, Asian ginseng, St. John's wort, and saw palmetto. In a blinded fashion, one of the agents was administered to 10 adult volunteers at the manufacturer's recommended dose for 2 weeks. At the end of the 2-week period, in vivo platelet function was quantified using the PFA-100 assay. After a 2-week "washout" period, the protocol was repeated using a different agent. This 4-week cycle was repeated for each of the five herbal agents, as well as the control agent aspirin. RESULTS: In vivo platelet function was not affected by the administration of any herbal agent and was markedly inhibited with the administration of aspirin. CONCLUSIONS: The herbal medicines investigated in this study do not affect platelet function in vivo. Neither this experiment nor a review of the literature supports the concern of perioperative bleeding in users of these herbal medicines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2044-2050
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Volume120
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes

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Herbal Medicine
Blood Platelets
Aspirin
Hemorrhage
Hypericum
Ginkgo biloba
Panax
Perioperative Period
Garlic
Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
Volunteers
Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this

The effect of herbal medicines on platelet function : An in vivo experiment and review of the literature. / Beckert, Benjamin W.; Concannon, Matthew J.; Henry, Steven L.; Smith, Daniel; Puckett, Charles L.

In: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Vol. 120, No. 7, 12.2007, p. 2044-2050.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Beckert, Benjamin W. ; Concannon, Matthew J. ; Henry, Steven L. ; Smith, Daniel ; Puckett, Charles L. / The effect of herbal medicines on platelet function : An in vivo experiment and review of the literature. In: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2007 ; Vol. 120, No. 7. pp. 2044-2050.
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