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4 Remedies You Should Never Take Together

Most people understand that there are plenty of medications you can’t take together, and even some natural remedies you can’t take with medications. But you may be wondering if there are certain natural remedies you can’t take together without negative repercussions.

Keep reading to find out more about them.

Natural Remedy Interactions

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of research on how natural remedies interact with each other.  The interaction between herbs and medications has been studied heavily in the past and it still is.

However, since many herbs and natural remedies are taken in small doses, they don’t often have obvious reactions, especially right away. There may be a buildup over time of natural remedies in the body that can cause a reaction, but this can be much harder to study.

For the most part, it will be up to the person taking the medication to determine their own safety. You will have to pay close attention to how your body reacts, and if you notice any adverse symptoms, you should stop herbal remedy consumption and consult your healthcare provider if the symptoms persist.

Some natural remedies have been studied and found to be antagonistic. But always remember that there may be more interactions out there that haven’t been reported. Always be cautious when mixing home remedies or herbal supplements. A good rule of thumb is to do your research beforehand, start with small doses and increase the dosage in time, as needed.

You may also want to remember that many natural remedies take months to build up in your system. This means that you can’t be quick to dismiss two remedies as interacting because you have been taking them together for a long time. It may take over half a year before they start interacting.

Sometimes, you may be able to simply reduce the dosage instead of not taking them altogether. For most natural remedies to interact, there has to be a buildup in your body.

Bitter Orange and Caffeine

Some basic studies have shown that bitter oranges (Citrus aurantium) can react negatively with caffeine. This is because they may have synergistic behaviors. When drugs or natural remedies are said to have synergistic behaviors, it usually means that they enhance the potency of each other.

4 Remedies You Should Never Take Together- bitter orange and caffeine

For some remedies, this can be helpful, since you can take less medicine and get the same effects. However, it can also increase the potency to dangerous levels.

Bitter orange has been used for a long time to help the gut, specifically with problems such as indigestion, nausea, and constipation. However, now, it is also being used more for health problems such as heartburn, nasal congestion, weight loss, and athletic performance.

Caffeine, present in foods like chocolate and drinks such as tea and coffee, is something many people consume unknowingly. Caffeine helps to stimulate the activity in your brain and your nervous system. It also increases the circulation of chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol throughout your body. In small doses, this can leave you feeling more refreshed.

When bitter orange and caffeine are taken together, the effects of caffeine can be enhanced more than you want. The combination can cause headaches and jitteriness. Also, if you take a high dose of caffeine every day, mixing it with bitter orange can increase your heart rate, also known as tachycardia, and lead to an increased risk of other negative cardiac effects.

Black Pepper and Rhodiola

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) has plenty of health benefits. It can improve cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and both brain and gut health when mixed with other herbal remedies. For example, when mixed with turmeric (Curcuma) it can increase the health benefits of turmeric, and they are often mixed together in pre-made teas and supplements.

However, it can also reduce the benefits of other natural remedies. One example is Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea).

Rhodiola is used in many countries to help treat anxiety, fatigue, and depression. It has also been shown to boost metabolism. However, some suggest that the properties of black pepper could reduce the antidepressant properties of Rhodiola when they are mixed together.4 Remedies You Should Never Take Together- black pepper and rhodiola

It should also be noted that black pepper is often used in foods as a seasoning, but the amount is too small to cause a problem. You don’t have to worry about eliminating black pepper from your diet when you use natural remedies like Rhodiola, but you may want to consider not taking it in high doses as a supplement.

St. John’s Wort and Valerian

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is known for being a natural remedy that helps with many ailments, from menopausal symptoms to obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, it is also known to react with many common prescription medications.4 Remedies You Should Never Take Together- st johns wort and valerian

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), meanwhile, is most commonly used to help with sleep problems and anxiety. When they are mixed together, they can cause drowsiness and lack of concentration, which can make it hard for you to go on with your tasks for the day.

Black Pepper and Green Tea

Green tea is a delicious drink. It has less caffeine than coffee and provides many health benefits as a great source of antioxidants. However, when black pepper (Piper nigrum) and green tea (Camellia sinensis) are used together, they can reduce the absorption of iron.4 Remedies You Should Never Take Together-black pepper and green tea

A couple of studies have been done, but each has produced different results, so the accuracy of this information is unknown. However, it is recommended that to be safe, those with anemia should avoid mixing the two.


There are more mixes out there that may have negative results when mixed together. For the most part, as long as herbal remedies are taken in small, recommended doses, they won’t have many negative effects on your body.

When you start taking high doses of something, that is when you should be aware of possible side effects. But taking natural remedies often leads to far fewer side effects than over-the-counter or prescription drugs, and are generally considered safer.

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Love how you know what does not mix well with what. So important to know- even natural has barriers. Thank you for this information!

Hi Juliette,

Thank you so much for your kind feedback! We’re happy to hear you like the article.

Many blessings and good health!

Is bitter orange the same as orange flavoring, as in Chocolate Orange Chocolate Bars. Could you please clarify more clearly on this subject of “bitter Orange” and regular Oranges and chocolate mixed together. Thank you.

Wiki Has the info you need. It is different than a regular orange

So glad to have this info. As someone with high iron who has to donate blood regularly, I’m going to try adding black pepper to my tea in hopes that my iron levels go down.

Just trying to figure out why anyone would take these combination in the first place….
Other than that, interesting information.

Also: What exactly is considered “taking together”?
At the same time, obviously, but what about 1 hour difference? Before or after? 4 hours before or after? The same day?

This term is used so much, but without any parameters, it is just a phrase.

Bitter Orange or sour orange are not eating fruit, rather they may be used for marmalade , the peel dried and powdered for tea or put in dishwater to cut grease and add aroma.

Hi Yasmin,

Thank you for sharing these tips with us! We really appreciate it!

Many blessings and good health!

Thank you for this information, I use St Johns Wort in a oil infusion for external use, it’s healing capacity is amazing, I will take note re Valerian for internal use.

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your comment! Let us know how Valerian works for you.

Many blessings and good health!

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