By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Herbs and herbal products are very popular and many people turn to them for a wide variety of reasons. Some can be quite helpful but others can be potentially dangerous and just because they are over the counter does not mean they are necessarily safe.

Take the case of an herb called salvia. It can be as powerful of a hallucinogenic as LSD. Over the years it has become more tightly regulated and there are various laws on the books in the entire tri-state area. Salvia was used commonly in ancient societies because of its hallucinogenic affects, but the herb can cause depression and an often-described sense of worthlessness.

I bring this up not to identify salvia alone but to stress the importance of being well-informed about the fact that not all herbs, vitamins and so-called natural pills are necessarily wonder products.