The Best 5 Herbs You Need to Know Before Having a Surgery

The reality is many of us will need to undergo a surgical procedure in some unspecified time in the future. It’s essential to make sure that our health is at top overall performance through what can be quite a trial.

Studies show some herbs can help to optimize recovery during and after the surgical procedure.

#1. St Mary’s thistle (Milk thistle) - Minimising the effects of anesthesia

The first thing on our pre-surgical operation to-do listing is to make sure that any herbs getting used are safe and especially that they don’t engage with anesthetic capsules. The fundamental recommendation is to stop taking all herbs about one week before the surgical treatment except St Mary’s thistle (milk thistle). Studies show that St Mary’s thistle can reduce the side effects of anaesthesia. 

The longer the surgical procedure, the longer the patient feels the ill side effects of anaesthesia. Studies show that St Mary’s thistle (Silybum marianum) reduces  the effect of general anaesthesia in the liver.

Commencing to take St Mary’s thistle (in concentrated silymarin extract tablet form) approximately three weeks prior to a surgical operation until the day before the surgery and then straight after the surgery.

What is St Mary’s thistle dosage?

The dosage depends on the predicted period of the manner (and the time underneath widespread anaesthesia).

  • For surgical operation up to 2 hours, it is recommended to take 600mg a day and maintain taking it for 4 weeks after surgery.
  • If the surgery takes between two and 4 hours, take 800mg a day, and then continue taking it for 6 weeks after surgery.
  • For surgical treatment more than 4 hours long, take 800mg a day, and continue the same dose every day for two to 3 months post-surgical procedure.

Milk thistle Interactions

Milk thistle typically protects the liver towards poisonous insult and is very safe. In fact, there’s no evidence to suggest that it interacts with drugs by speeding up the rate that the liver metabolises them, so it won’t adversely interact with the anaesthetic drugs [1

St Mary's Thistle During Pregnancy

Whilst milk thistle has been traditionally utilized in pregnant and breastfeeding women, its safety is unknown. So, if you're either pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your health care provider before using milk thistle. Milk thistle is not encouraged for kids.

#2. Echinacea rootBoost and speed up the body’s own healing powers

If you stop to think about it, without the miracle of healing, all surgery would be lethal. So, enhancing the healing response should be a major priority for any patient who has just undergone surgery.

Immune support is one of the key aspects of improving healing. Major surgery also suppresses natural killer (NK) cell activity [2]

Study shows that Echinacea purpurea (Purple coneflower) may boost innate immunity and NK cell production and activity [3]. These two factors make Echinacea angustifolia the ideal herbal plant to use post-surgery. 

What is Echinacea Dosage?

It is recommended to take between 2.5 and 5g of good quality Echinacea root per day, depending on the severity of the surgery and the risk of infection.

#3. Grape seed extract - Reduce the risk of post-surgical deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

It's also important to promote blood flow and connective tissue production in areas that have been operated on.

What is Grape seed extract good for?

Grape seed extract has a number of actions related to healing, including the support of connective tissue by protecting collagen and elastin [4]

In clinical trials, grape seed extract has been shown to support microcirculation and improve capillary resistance [5,6]. It also improves venous function, reducing oedema (swelling) and improving venous tone, which helps reduce the risk of post-surgical deep vein thrombosis (DVT) [7,8]

What is Grape Seed Extract Dosage?

A recommended dosage is between 100 to 150mg of grape seed extract per day.

#4. Ginkgo biloba leaf extract - Improve circulation

There is also clinical evidence that suggests Ginkgo biloba leaf extract helps improve microcirculation [9,10]

What is Ginkgo biloba leaf extract Dosage?

It is recommended to take 100 to 150mg per day of a 50:1 leaf extract.

What are Ginkgo biloba Interactions?

Ibuprofen interacts with GINKGO

Ginkgo can slow blood clotting. Ibuprofen can also slow blood clotting. Taking ginkgo with ibuprofen can slow blood clotting an excessive amount of and increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Medicines that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, and warfarin (Coumadin) interact with GINKGO [11].

Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with GINKGO

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Ginkgo may additionally slow blood clotting. Taking ginkgo in conjunction with warfarin (Coumadin) would possibly increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Ensure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be modified.

#5. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) - Wound Healing

Like grape seed extract, Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) also helps strengthen veins and capillaries. It can help minimize the risk of post-surgical DVT as well [12]

Several clinical trials show that Gotu Kola promotes wound healing while other herbs have failed [13, 14].

The production of new connective tissue is probably the most important aspect of healing, and Gotu Kola is the only herb that stands out in this area. Clinical trials have established that the active fraction from the herb improves microcirculation, production of connective tissue and overall wound healing [14,15,16,17].

In fact, studies have shown that it speeds up the healing process, especially in terms of the production and strengthening of connective tissue [18,19].

These effects have been noted after various surgical procedures [20,21] and other traumatic injuries [22]. Clinical trials have also found that Gotu Kola helps correct and prevent the formation of scars [23].

What is Gotu Kola Dosage?

The daily doses of Gotu Kola following surgery contain between 150 to 300mg of the active fraction known as triterpenes. This corresponds to around 7.5 to 15.0g per day of the original starting leaf.

Please consult your healthcare practitioner prior to taking any supplements.



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What do you take to minimize the side effects of anaesthesia? Tell us in the comment below.

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