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Safety With Herbs

I want to talk to you about Safety. There are a lot of common misconceptions out there regarding herbal healing, and I hope with this to be able to clear some of those up. Safety with any treatment is essential for overall health and well-being, whether it be allopathic or alternative in nature.

Herbs Are Medicine!! They should be treated with the very same respect that most of us give to prescription drugs. Many herbs can be harmful in large or prolonged dosages, as can most anything in this life, I might add. Many herbs can be addictive after long term improper use. Some are poisonous. Some can have toxic side effects if not properly balanced with herbs that counteract those effects. They should not ever be used indiscriminately without the proper guidance of a health care professional. They should not ever be used on a daily basis without the proper guidance of a health care professional. Many people feel that just because herbs are natural, they can't be hurt by them. Nothing can be further from the truth.

More Is Not Better!! Many people feel that if a little makes me feel better, a lot will make me feel fantastic. This is not the case with herbs. Dosages need to be carefully controlled, as with any medicine. You wouldn't swallow a whole bottle of antibiotics at one time to kill a bacterial infection. Apply the same caution to herbal medicines. It is possible to overdose! Herbs work slowly, with the body and its own natural defenses. You must give herbs time to work before changing your dosages. In this modern world of a "pill for everything", folks have come to expect instant cures, instant relief. You should note that with chronic illness, even prescription drugs take time to work. The same applies with herbal medicines. Give them time to work. Support them with a proper diet, with exercise, and with proper attention to yourself. If the herbs aren't working for you, then you either have the wrong combinations, the wrong dosages, or you aren't adhering to a proper healing regimen. Contact a health care professional for guidance as to what works for you.

One Dose Does Not Fit All!! You wouldn't give a small child the same amount of cough syrup you give an adult. The same applies with herbal medicines. The dose must fit the individual. The dosages need to be based on the illness treated, your past and present medical history, your age, your weight, and several other factors. Combinations must be chosen so as not to interfere with any specifics with your particular body, and so as not to further aggravate that which is being treated. A health care professional can help you choose the proper combinations and dosages for your unique body and health concerns.

Tell Your Doctor What You Are Taking!! You wouldn't hide the fact that you are a smoker or a drinker or have a heart condition from your physician. You shouldn't hide the fact that you are using herbal medicines, either. Some herbs can have serious adverse reactions when improperly mixed with prescription drugs. Just because they are natural doesn't mean there can't be reactions! Many chemical drugs are derived from healing plant constituents. So you could be causing a serious problem for yourself if you are getting far too much of something that is supposed to be helping you. There is no reason to hide. Herbal healing is becoming much more mainstream today, and many physicians are learning about herbs as medicine. If yours isn't, then help educate him or her. Or find a doctor that can help you work with your herbs. Most communities have herbal professionals, naturopathic doctors, Chinese Medicine practitioners, and other professionals that are trained in the proper uses of the healing herbs. Seek one out before you make some major mistakes with your precious body.

But The Drug Companies Are Recommending Herbs!! Indeed, there are growing numbers of drug companies that are jumping on the natural health bandwagon. However, this does not give you license to just use whatever you see in hopes that it will improve your condition. Again, most herbs should not be used on a daily basis over the long term. That can actually do more harm than not using an herb at all. Educate yourself before reaching for that one-a-day herb. You may not need it for what you think you do. Just because it has a "name" behind it does not make it safe for continued daily use. Seek guidance if you are confused or unsure of what to do with these new products.

Following these guidelines will help you to get the most from your herbal treatments. You will be healthier and happier if you don't fall for media hype. Stick to what is known. Don't indiscriminately choose an herb without knowing exactly what to expect from it, good and bad. Always treat your herbal medicines with respect, and they will do the same for you.

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Safety With Herbs
Natural Diet Pills - Help or Hazard?
How to Gather, Store, and Use Your Herbs
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Copyright 1999-2002 Rev. Dr. Lisa Waltz, ND, DD, CNC
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