Herb Safety

Herb Safety - Different people have different reactions to substances, whether drugs, foods, or herbs.  Herbs come from all over the world.  Many cultures have used herbs for thousands of years with the ability to restore health and vitality.   Herbalists have focused on reversing the effects of aging and restoring true health.  Many herbs strengthen the body and promote a long, healthy, vibrant life.   With many herbs, it is possible to treat the underlying causes of disease, rather than chasing symptoms.   Many herbs have an incredible track record for naturally preventing coronary disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, digestive disorders, enlarged prostate, menopause problems and many others.   Safe herbs can be taken over a long period of time without any side effects or interactions with medications.  Herbs comprise a group of several thousand plants with a widely varying actions.

Today, most people buy prescription drugs from the pharmacy not realizing that natural herbs can do the same thing.  Some herbs are very powerful, so you still need to be very careful.  If adverse effects occur, stop taking the herb.  Do not take certain herbs if you are pregnant or breast feeding.   

Nourishing Herbs - are the safest of all herbs.  They can be taken in any quantity for any length of time.  They provide high levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carotenes, and essential fatty acids.  Examples are:  alfalfa, amaranth, astragalus, boneset, calendula flowers, catnip, chickweed, citrus peel, clevers, comfrey leaves, dandelion, fenugreek, flax seeds, ginger, honeysuckle flowers, lamb's quarter, lavender, marjoram, marshmallow, motherswort, nettles, oatstraw, passion flower, peppermint, plantain leaves and seeds, purslane, red clover blossoms, rosemary, sage, scullcap, seaweed, siberian ginseng, slippery elm, violet leaves, and wild mushrooms.

Tonifying Herbs - act slowly in the body and have a cumulative, rather than immediate effect.  They build the functional ability of an organ or a system.  They are most beneficial when used in small quantities for extended periods of time.  Side effects occasionally occur, but are usually quite short-term.  Examples are:  barberry bark, burdock root and seeds, chaste tree, mug wort, dandelion root, echinacea, elecampane, fennel, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, ground ivy, hawthorn berries, horsetail, lady's mantle, lemon balm, milk thistle seeds, motherwort, mullein, pau d'arco, raspberry leaves, schisandra berries, st. john's wort, turmeric root, usnea, wild yam, and yellow dock.

Sedating Herbs - Herbs that are sedating, examples are:  catnip, chamomile, ginseng, goldenseal, hops, kava, lemon balm, passion flower, peppermint, sassafrass, spearmint, st. john's wort, and valerian. 

Stimulating Herbs - Herbs that are stimulating, examples are:  bayberry, catuaba, cayenne, cuscuta, damiana, ginseng, horny goat weed, and rosemary. 

Strongly Sedating and Stimulating Herbs -  Some herbs are strongly sedating or stimulating.  The stronger the herb, the more moderate the dose need to be, and the shorter the duration of its use.  Examples are:  angelica, black pepper, blessed thistle root, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, licorice, opium poppy, osha root, shepherd's purse, sweet woodruff, turkey rhubarb root, uva ursu leaves, valerian root, wild lettuce sap, willow bark, and wintergreen leaves.

Use with Caution Herbs - these may have ill effects on those with pre-existing medical condition or sensitivity.  Examples are:  acorn, angelica, bladderwack, borage, clover,  flax, hemp, hops, juniper, licorice, mace, nutmeg, periwinkle, red sandalwood, rhubarb, sandalwood, sassafras, stephontis, sweet flag, tobacco, woodruff and yohimbe.

Poisonous Herbs -  never ingest.   Side effects are common.  Examples are:  aconite, balm of gilead, belladonna, black hellebore, black nightshade, blood-root, broom, byrony, calamus, camphor, carnation, celandine, chaparral, coltsfoot, comfrey, deadly nightshade, deerstongue, ephedra, eucalyptus, euphorbium, fern, foxglove, geranium, germander, goldenseal, heliotope, henbane, hyacinth, iris root, ivy, jimson weed, lobelia, mandrake, may apple, mistletoe, mums, narcissus, nightshade, pennyroyal, pine, poke root, poke weed, poison hemlock, ranuculus, stillingia root, tonka, trefoil, turkey corn root, water parsnip, wild cucumber root, wisteria, wolfbane,woodwarm, and yew.

Avoid during Pregnancy Herbs -   some herbs may cause premature contractions, these herbs should be avoided entirely during pregnancy.  Examples are:  aloe vera, arbor vitae, autumn crocus, barberry, basil oil, beth root, black cohosh, bloodroot, blue cohosh, broom, bugleweed, clove oil, comfrey, cotton root, devil's claw, dong quai, false unicorn root, feverfew, golden seal, greater celandine, juniper and juniper oil, lady's mantle, liferoot, mistletoe, mugwort, american pennyroyal, european pennyroyal, peruvian bark, pokeroot, pseudoginseng, pulsatilla, rue, sassafras, shepherd's purse, southernwood, myrrh, tansy, wild yam, and wormwood.

Should not be taken Long Term Herbs -   some may impair the body's assimilation of vital nutrients.  Examples are:  barberry, black  cohosh,  cascara sagrada, dong quai, garlic, goldenseal, oregon grape root, scullcap, senna, and wormwood.

Anticlotting Herbs - If surgery is scheduled, herbs that have anticlotting properties include: alfalfa, feverfew, garlic, ginseng, motherwort, and tumeric.

Commission E study of Safe Herbs - In Germany, hundreds of herbal remedies line the pharmacy shelves.  German universities have been conducting extensive research into herbs.  Most of the resulting studies were published in Germany.  The commission is a panel of experts consisting of doctors, health practitioners, botanists, pharmacists and toxologists.  Since 1978, the panel has been conducting laboratory studies, gathering case histories, and reviewing existing research to arrive at a comprehensive assessment of healing plants.  The  commission has studied the benefits and healing properties of herbs.  Commission E study of Safe Herbs:  agrimony, alfalfa, aloe, angelica root, arnica flower, artichoke, black cohosh root, black walnut, blessed thistle, borage, calendula, camomile, chaparral, chasteberry, cinnamon, coltsfoot, dandelion, devil's claw, dong quai, echinacea, elder flower, eyebright, fennel, feverfew, ginger, ginseng, goldenseal, hawthorn, hops, horse chestnut, horsetail, kava, lavender, lemon balm, linden flowers, marshmallow, mate, mexican wild yam, myrrh, parsley, passion flower, peppermint, red clover, ribwort plantain, rose flower, rosemary, sage, saw palmetto, senna husk, stinging nettle, thyme, uva ursi, valerian, white willow bark, witch hazel, wormwood, and yellow gentian.

Herb Safety - Herbal medicine and its safe use is the oldest and most reliable form of health care.   A study by the World Health Organization on herbal medicine use, found that approximately 80% of the world's population rely on herbal medicine to cure certain ailments.  Each person becomes whole and healed in their own unique way, at their own speed.  Do not expect plants to be the cure all, enjoy the benefits of herbs.  Herbs are normally slow-acting and are uniquely suited for prevention, long-term healing of chronic conditions and maintaining general health.

Although herbs are gentler than pharmaceuticals, they should only be taken when needed.  Most herbs should not be taken continuously.  They should be used periodically only when needed.

Children and pregnant women should avoid taking herbal blends.

Do not mix or take more than one different herbal product at a time.

Although many herbs can be used safely, some can be dangerous, particularly if they are taken in combination with certain prescription medications.

Kathy Kafka

Complete Natural Blends


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