Herbal medications are commonly used for clinical purposes, including the treatment of cardiovascular conditions. Compared with conventional medications, herbal medications do not require clinical studies before their marketing or formal approval from regulatory agencies, and for this reason their efficacy and safety are rarely proven. In this review, we summarize available evidence on herbal medications mostly used in cardiovascular medicine. We show that the use of these medications for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases is often not supported by scientific evidence. Despite most of these herbs showing an effect on biological mechanisms related to the cardiovascular system, data on their clinical effects are lacking. Potential relevant side effects, including increased risk of drug interactions, are described, and the possibility of contamination or substitution with other medications represents a concern. Physicians should always assess the use of herbal medications with patients and discuss the possible benefits and side effects with them.
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- adverse drug reactions
- alternative medicine
- cardiovascular disease