Matching Challenge: Over-the-Counter Products

By: Mohamed Dungersi, Associate Student Editor


Match the following herbal products with their correct description:

A. This product has been used to treat liver disease, including hepatitis and cirrhosis.  It has also been used as a protective agent after the liver was exposed to alcohol, acetaminophen, and carbon tetrachloride.B. This product is extracted from a dwarf palm tree and is native to the southeast coastal region of the United States.  It has been used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).  It is usually dosed at either 160 mg twice daily, or 320 mg once daily.

C. This product is most commonly used to treat insomnia and for the prevention of jet lag in air travelers.  It is a hormone produced by the pineal gland; it regulates sleep and circadian rhythms.  For insomnia, 0.3 to 5 mg can be taken 30 minutes prior to bedtime.

D. This product is an evergreen bush native to North America.  It has been used to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTI).  It is normally paired with fructose, although unsweetened forms are available.

E. This product is native to Europe and Asia, although it grows in most parts of the world.  It is normally used for alleviating insomnia and anxiety.  Most clinical trials using this product to treat insomnia used its extracted form in a dosage of 400 to 900 mg, administered 30 to 120 minutes before bedtime.  \

F. This product has been used to treat the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), dysmenorrheal, menopause, and rheumatoid arthritis.  The most commonly used commercial preparation is called Remifemin.

G. This product is normally present in animal cartilage.  It is most commonly used as a dietary supplement to treat osteoarthritis and joint health.  It serves as building material for cartilage production and inhibits an enzyme responsible for cartilage degradation.

H. This product is native to southeastern Asia.  It is considered a performance enhancer because of the stimulant effect from caffeine.  When used in large doses, it may antagonize the effects of Warfarin, although brewing destroys most of its vitamin K content.  \

I. This product is most commonly used to lower cholesterol concentrations.  For hyperlipidemia, the dosage is 1.2 to 2.4 grams per day in two divided doses.  In the past, certain of these products were declared illegal, because they contained an unauthorized drug.  If the product is not fermented correctly, it can contain citrinin, a nephrotoxic compound.

J. This product is most frequently recommended to reduce postprandial glucose elevations and to reduce the severity of cold and upper respiratory infection symptoms.  Its active ingredient is considered an adaptogen, a substance that aids the body in returning to normal function and adapting to stress.  Its concomitant use with warfarin has been shown to decrease the effect of warfarin.  It is therefore recommended to avoid concomitant use.


1. Melatonin2. Black cohosh

3. Milk thistle

4. American ginseng

5. Red yeast rice

6. Saw palmetto

7. Valerian

8. Chondroitin

9. Cranberry

10. Green tea



  1. McQueen CE, Orr KK.  Natural Products.  In: Berardi RR, Ferreri SP, Hume AL, et al. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs.  16th ed. Washington, DC: American Pharmacists Association; 2009:973—1014.
  2. McQueen CE, editor.  Sigler’s Dietary Supplement Drug Cards.  2nd ed. Lawrence, Kan: SFI Medical Publishing; 2009.
  3. Boullat J. Natural Health product interactions with medication.  Nutr Clin Pract.  2005;20:33-51.
  4. Dennehy CE, Tsourounis C. Botanicals and nutritional supplements.  In: Katzung BG, ed. Basic and Clinical Pharmacology.  10th Ed.  New York: Lange/McGraw Hill; 2007:1060-2.



1=C , 2=F, 3=A, 4=J, 5=I, 6=B, 7=E, 8=G, 9=D, 10=H

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