Herbal medicines are those with active ingredients made from plant parts, such as leaves, roots or flowers. However, being 'natural' doesn't necessarily mean they're safe for you to take.

Herbal medicines, just like conventional medicines, will have an effect on the body and can be potentially harmful if not used correctly.

They should therefore be used with the same care and respect as conventional medicines.

If you're consulting your doctor or pharmacist about health matters, or are about to undergo surgery, always tell them about any herbal medicines you're taking.

This page covers:

Potential issues with herbal medicines

Who should avoid herbal medicines?

Herbal medicines and surgery

What to look for when buying a herbal medicine

Risks of buying herbal medicines online or by mail order

Reporting side effects

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Nov 2016