Herbal drugs of abuse: an emerging problem

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2007 May;25(2):435-57; abstract ix. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2007.02.009.


Some herbal products are emerging as popular drugs for recreational abuse. Plant and herbal supplements used recreationally can have a wide spectrum of clinical effects ranging from euphoric and stimulant effects to hallucinogenic experiences. Despite the potential for abuse, addiction, and serious adverse effects, there may be a false perception that these products are all safe, legal, and organic. These perceptions and the ease of accessibility to herbal products could result in greater potential for recreational abuse and subsequent complications presenting to emergency departments. Health care professionals must be cognizant of this emerging problem as increased media coverage and marketing have made these products accessible and recognizable to many young adults and teenagers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics / adverse effects*
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects*
  • Hallucinogens / classification
  • Humans
  • Plant Preparations / adverse effects*
  • Plant Preparations / classification
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Sympathomimetics / adverse effects*
  • Sympathomimetics / classification
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Analgesics
  • Hallucinogens
  • Plant Preparations
  • Sympathomimetics