Like all medicines, complementary medicines can have benefits and side effects, cause allergic reactions, or interact with your other medicines. You need to use them with care.
Is it a medicine?
A lot of people don’t realise that complementary products are medicines too.
Medicines are things you take to change the way your body deals with illness or injury. They can also maintain your health.
They can come in many forms and can be applied onto your skin or into your body. These include herbs, tablets, liquids, powders, inhalers, drops, patches, creams, lotions, pessaries, suppositories or injections.
You can get them from a pharmacist, with or without prescription. You may also get them from supermarkets, health food stores, herbalists, naturopaths, complementary health providers and the internet.
Seek advice from a qualified person when choosing a complementary medicine. Ask about:
- brands or forms that suit you
- how much to take
- how often to take it, and
- what side effects and interactions to look out for.
As with all medicines, tell your health professional about any complementary medicines you are taking. That way, you can avoid the risk of harmful interactions with your other medicines.
You can use a medicines list
to keep track of what you take. You can use a paper list or an app on your smartphone.