Hydrochlorothiazide is a water pill that’s most often used to treat edema, or fluid retention, and high blood pressure. Your doctor may prescribe it if you have a kidney disorder, liver cirrhosis, congestive heart failure or edema due to taking estrogen or steroids. Numerous supplements and herbs can interact with hydrochlorothiazide. Always inform your doctor of all herbal supplements you are taking.
Hydrochlorothiazide is classified as a thiazide diuretic. It helps your body avoid absorbing too much salt; salt promotes fluid retention. When you take this medicine it’s important to avoid becoming dehydrated. Using dandelion, stinging nettle or mate with this drug can increase its diuretic effects.
Taking hydrochlorothiazide with the herb agrimony can cause increased skin sensitivity to sunlight. Other herbs that have this interaction with this drug include fennel, motherwort and St. John’s wort.
Using hydrochlorothiazide with aloe raises your risk of hypokalemia, or low levels of potassium in your blood. Numerous other herbs have the same interaction. These include andrographis, apple cider vinegar, artichoke, black root, blue flag, buckthorn, butternut, cascara sagrada, castor oil, colocynth, fo-ti, frangula, gamboge, goldenseal, gossypol, horsetail, licorice, senna, wahoo and yellow dock. Symptoms of hypokalemia may include fatigue, muscle weakness, constipation, abnormal heart rhythms, muscle fiber breakdown and paralysis. A large drop in blood-potassium levels can be life threatening.
Taking asa foetida and hydrochlorothiazide can raise your risk for hypotension, or excessively low blood pressure. Other herbs that share this interaction include bishop’s weed, black cohosh, cat’s claw, catechu, devil’s claw, European mistletoe, garlic, kelp, rue, stevia and yarrow. Symptoms of hypotension may include blurry vision, dizziness, confusion, fainting, weakness, sleepiness and light-headedness. This condition may lead to shock and also increases your risk for injury from falling. Severe hypotension can be life threatening; it can cause damage to your brain, heart and other organs because it starves your body for oxygen.
Cardiac Glycoside Toxicity
Taking hydrochlorothiazide with digitalis, wallflower or lilly of the valley raises your risk for cardiac glycoside toxicity. Call 911 if you suspect this interaction. Symptoms can be vague and may include halos or blurred vision, hives or a rash, gastrointestinal disturbances, an irregular or slow heartbeat, weakness, confusion, drowsiness, headaches, tiredness, disorientation, apathy or depression.
Certain herbs can interfere with the action of hydrochlorothiazide. These include arnica, birch, bladderwrack, blue cohosh, ginkgo biloba, sorrel and uva ursi. The herb calotropis can increase the toxic effects of hydrochlorothiazide. Certain herbs magnify the drug’s general effects. These include carrageen, cowslip and dong quai. Taking this drug with ma-huang raises your risk for high blood pressure. Taking it with yohimbe can interfere with blood pressure control.
- Drugs: Hydrochlorothiazide
- “The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide”; George T. Grossberg and Barry Fox; 2007 page 27, 34, 36, 43, 47, 50, 67,69, 76, 81, 85, 88, 90, 101, 108, 123, 124, 127, 128, 131, 133, 158, 173, 180, 185, 187, 190, 211, 216, 226, 227, 230, 233, 241, 252, 253,278, 296, 310, 314, 323, 341, 402, 420, 426, 431, 435, 440, 456, 477, 480, 500, 508, 549-550
- PubMed Health: Hypokalemia
- PubMed Health: Hypotension
- MedlinePlus: Cardiac Glycoside Overdose