Query on Herbal Medicine

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Mike O
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Query on Herbal Medicine

Post by Mike O »

In the ingredients for St Johns Wort it is mentioned:

"Each hard capsule contains 142mg of extract (as dry extract) from St. John’s Wort aerial parts (Hypericum perforatum L.) (equivalent to 711mg-995mg of St. John’s Wort). Extraction solvent: Ethanol 60% v/v."

Is the use of Ethanol here of concern to an alcoholic?

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PaigeB
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Re: Query on Herbal Medicine

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Whoa - that is the only thing I see in there that would make ME feel better! I wouldn't take it, but I don't know a lot about herbal meds.
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Duke
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Re: Query on Herbal Medicine

Post by Duke »

My understanding is that ethanol used for extraction is entirely evaporated from the final product.
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Mike O
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Re: Query on Herbal Medicine

Post by Mike O »

Duke wrote:My understanding is that ethanol used for extraction is entirely evaporated from the final product.
From what I can gather, this does appear to be the case. However, I want to be sure. Any chemists here?

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Brock
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Re: Query on Herbal Medicine

Post by Brock »

We have had this come up in the past, searching under 'wort' shows the posts.

Like Duke I thought the ethanol evaporated after extraction. However I just found a thesis headed - Master-Thesis The Role of Alcohol in Pharmaceutical Products Dr. Iris Krugmann. She says the residual Ethanol in drugs extracted by this process, could be dangerous to kids due to alcohol content. So if there's enough alcohol to possibly harm a child, and we are probably more sensitive than kids to alcohol, I say stay far away from this.

This is a short section from her paper, it actually shows how much the blood alcohol level in children should not rise above, per dose of herbal medication.
According to “Reflection Paper on Ethanol content in herbal medicinal products and traditional herbal medicinal products used in children” (EMEA/HMPC/85114/2008), optional medical prescription drugs intended for pediatric population must have an ethanol concentration below 5% and after intake of a single dose of ethanol containing medicinal products, the resultant blood alcohol concentration should not be higher than 0.125 g/L (= 0.125‰) based on the impairment of psychomotor skills. 
If they could manage to remove all the ethanol residue, one imagines they would do so.
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Duke
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Re: Query on Herbal Medicine

Post by Duke »

I'm not a chemist. Science was never my strong suit.
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Blue Moon
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Re: Query on Herbal Medicine

Post by Blue Moon »

Mike O wrote:In the ingredients for St Johns Wort it is mentioned:

"Each hard capsule contains 142mg of extract (as dry extract) from St. John’s Wort aerial parts (Hypericum perforatum L.) (equivalent to 711mg-995mg of St. John’s Wort). Extraction solvent: Ethanol 60% v/v."

Is the use of Ethanol here of concern to an alcoholic?
It's a dry extract, not suspended in liquid. So no, the method of extraction wouldn't bother me. If I was going to get drunk on that, I'd get drunk anyway.

But there may be other reasons to take precautions, e.g. interactions with other drugs. "Herbal" doesn't necessarily equate to "safe", so I would educate myself about what I'm putting into my body.
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Mike O
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Re: Query on Herbal Medicine

Post by Mike O »

Blue Moon wrote:
But there may be other reasons to take precautions, e.g. interactions with other drugs. "Herbal" doesn't necessarily equate to "safe", so I would educate myself about what I'm putting into my body.
Oh, absolutely.
Thanks, everybody.

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