Medicinal herbs have been in use for thousands of years and are renowned the world over for their overall effectiveness in treating many diseases. These natural herbs have been found to be very effective in increasing the body resistance to infections, boosting the immune system, renewing and raising body vitality and healing allergies. Due to the above factors, the popularity of medicinal herbs has grown in leaps and bounds and as a result many people are using herbal remedies.
These herbal means of promoting health are also becoming more popular because most people are becoming increasingly wary and distrustful of the frequency and powerful nature of most toxic drugs being prescribed by the mainstream medical practitioners. Further to the above, magazines and online articles talking about the efficacy and efficiency of herbs are also appearing with increasing frequency as some herbal treatments get mainstream acceptance by members of the medical profession.
In this regard, it is important to know and appreciate the do’s and don’ts of using medicinal herbs safely and effectively. These include but are not limited to the following;
First and foremost, it is important to know your health history and pay close attention to any allergies you may have. Studies have shown that some components in medicinal herbs can be harmful to people who have different forms of allergies. It is worth noting that at times, these herbs when taken without proper medical advice or knowledge can act as allergens, further aggravating the symptoms of that particular allergy. An example is St John’s Wort, a popular and effective herb which has been found to cause instances of skin sensitivity to certain people. This does imply that just because it is a herb does not mean that you should just use it freely, it is wise to consult a practitioner about the herb(s) you intend to use before you start off.
The second issue you need to take into consideration is the compatibility factor. There have been numerous incidences of incompatibility between herbal medication and regular, mainstream drugs. At times, some components of the herb may inadvertently stop or partially block the pathway(s) used by allopathic medicines; this can reduce the overall efficacy of regular medicine as well as of the herb which may also be affected by ingredients of the regular medication. This situation can be dangerous and especially so for individuals who are on medication for a number of disorders such as kidney, heart conditions and other nervous problems. It is also worth mentioning that there are some herbs which negatively interfere with ARV drugs for those with HIV.
Just like mainstream drugs, it is important to stick with the dosage provided with the herbal medication. The dosage is also bound to vary from one individual to the other because each system does function differently and therefore requires a specific dosage so as to show its effectiveness to the very optimum level. It is also worth mentioning that different brands tend to have different percentage compositions of various ingredients and it is therefore important to stick with one brand. This allows you to get the best of your herbal medication and measure the efficiency of the brand. Be careful not to get an overdose of the herb because it is just as dangerous as an overdose of regular medication. An overdose will most likely cause vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, dizziness and impaired abilities as well.
It is also important to check the label of the herbal medicine you are using. Even though herbals are natural and relatively safe, they are at times combined with some other products such as Ascorbic acid which may aggravate reflux or may not contain the requisite percentage of a certain ingredient which you need or require. Read through the label, confirm the ingredients and check out the expiry date where applicable.
Lastly, if you are on regular or mainstream drugs and being treated for a particular condition, make sure you talk to your doctor about your plans to start using any herbal medication and listen to his or her recommendations. This is because even though there are certain ailments and conditions which medicinal herbs can actually treat and do so pretty well, there are also certain conditions which you are better off leaving to a qualified medical practitioner to handle and advice you accordingly.