Risks and Benefits of Herbal Supplements in Aesthetic Surgery

There are a number of supplements, herbs and nutrients that can potentially accelerate healing and reduce scarring when used appropriately. However, patients need to be aware that full disclosure of all medications, both those that are prescribed and those that are obtained over the counter, can have a significant impact on recovery.

Following is a summary of various herbal medications that can have a potentially negative surgical effect if not avoided two to three weeks prior to surgery.

Bleeding effects

  • Gingko biloba
  • Garlic
  • Ginseng
  • Fish oils (omega 3 fatty acids)
  • ong Quai
  • Feverfew

Cardiovascular effects

  • Ephedra
  • Garlic (hypotension)

Anesthetic effects

  • Valerian root
  • St. John’s wort
  • Kava

Drug Interactions

  • Echinacea
  • Goldenseal
  • Licorice
  • St. John’s wort
  • Kava
  • Valerian Root


  • St. John’s wort and Dong Quai (photosensitivity)
  • Ginseng (hypoglycemia)

Excerpt from March/April 2009 Aesthetic Surgery Journal

Please use this list as a starting point for your discussion with your plastic surgeon. Open communication is essental to ensuring your health safety and best possible surgical outcome.