Is Always Safe to Consume Natural Remedy?

When modern medicine becomes more expensive and not effective, people turn their hope on home remedy. Some home remedies have been proven clinically, still we should be careful when we consume them. Even though they mostly made from natural ingredients, those herbal medicines can be dangerous if we are not being careful to consume it.

On a seminar about natural remedy that was held by University of Indonesia in the beginning of this year, Eko, 50 years old man told his experience with home remedy.

After he drank a concoction made from mahkota dewa leaves (Phaleria macrocarpa), he lost his consciousness. Apparently, Eko wanted to heal from his hypertension badly that he boiled five leaves of Phaleria macrocarpa with their seeds. Then, he drank the juice too much with hope that he would heal soon. But, he lost his consciousness because his blood pressure was dropped drastically.

side effect of guazumae folium
Guazumae Folium

Prapti Utami, a doctor who learned traditional medicine and joined Association of Indonesian Doctors Developer of Eastern Traditional Medicine (Perhimpunan Dokter Indonesia Pengembang Kesehatan Tradisional Timur) revealed other experience from her patient.

The adolescent patient suddenly lost her consciousness after she followed her mother to drink jati belanda (guazumae folium) leaves to reduce her weight. “She had stomach ulcer, while guazumae folium has side-effect that will cause stomach irritation,” Prapti said.

She reminded that even those home remedies are made from natural ingredients; they still contain active chemicals like modern medicine. So, if people want to consume them, they should consult to their doctors first.

She gave an example, purple leaf (Graptophyllum pictum) as main ingredient of herbal medicines contains flavonoid content, which can kill bacteria. This leaf also has natural steroid content that is working as anti-inflammation and also contains alkaloid that softens feces.

Need diagnosis

Home remedy cannot be drunk carelessly because each individual will have different responses. “Although you have the same complaint, it doesn’t mean the same herbal that works for other people, is suitable for you,” Prapti said as quoted by

That’s why doctors always make diagnose first before they give herbal medicine to their patients. Just as general medicine, the diagnosis is available through interview with the patients, physical examination and if necessary laboratory check up or radiology.

From this diagnosis, we will know the health history and reaction interaction risk toward herbal medicine. “This diagnosis is necessary because each body has its own metabolism,” Prapti added.

Finding doctors who understand herbal medicines is no longer difficult thing to do. There are many doctors that combine modern medicine with herbal medicine. Besides that, there are herbal clinics in several hospitals in Indonesia such as Doctor Soetomo Hospital in Surabaya or Bethesda Hospital in Jogjakarta.

Home remedy also has side-effects such as chemical medicines. Those side-effects are diarrhea, shakiness, sudden low blood pressure, nausea or dizziness. If patients who drink home remedy suffer these side-effects, they should consult to their doctors.

According to Prapti, usually one home remedy should be consumed with other herbal medicine, so they can complement and or reduce the side-effects. For instance, guazumae folium works to help reduce weight, but it has side-effect to irritate stomach. So, people should consume it with temulawak (Java Ginger or Curcuma zanthorrhiza) or Kunir Putih (White Turmeric or Curcuma Alba Rhizoma) to reduce the side-effect.

And people should remember, whether they drink modern medicine or traditional medicine, they should drink at least two liters of water to clean their livers.


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