Herbal Supplements and Anesthesia




Herbal and Dietary Supplement Use and Anesthesia

Americans spend more than $27 billion a year on herbal supplements and other “alternative medicines,” often without realizing how potent they can be. Unlike prescription medications, herbal remedies are not subject to government regulations, and their manufacturers do not have to prove efficacy or track side effects. The American Society of Anesthesiologists urges patients to tell their anesthesiologist about any medications they are taking, including all vitamins, herbal supplements and other alternative substances. These products can interfere with anesthesia and potentially cause complications during surgery. Be sure to bring all substances with you, prescription or over-the-counter, when you meet with your anesthesiologist before surgery and on the day of your procedure.

This video explains in detail the potential effects of herbal remedies on surgical patients. The ASA urges all patients to watch the video and discuss it with your primary physician and the anesthesiologist who will be responsible for your safety during surgery.

Helpful Links

What is Anesthesiology

Total care of the surgical patient before, during and after surgery.


Anesthesia Topics Quick Links

Choose a topic:

Featured Video:

Smoking and Surgery
Learn why stopping smoking before surgery can have an impact on your outcome.

Play Video

In Case of Emergency

Download, print, fill out, and keep this checklist. It just may save your life.


Come Prepared

Ask your anesthesiologist questions about what to expect before, during, and after your procedure.


The ASA does not employ physician anesthesiologists on staff and cannot respond to patient inquiries regarding specific medical conditions or anesthesia administration. Please direct any questions related to anesthetics, procedures or treatment outcomes to the patient’s anesthesiologist or general physician.