Herbs: To Take Or Not To Take

Medically Reviewed by Beth Hendrickson, RN

Herbs and other natural remedies are so popular in our society. Lets look at a few things to make sure what you are taking is safe and the importance of taking control of your own health care.

There are many people and companies promoting their own herbal remedies to cure this or that ailment. Are they right for you? Are they safe? Are they effective? These are all questions to ask yourself. If you feel very strongly that you want to take an herbal supplement talk to someone in the field. Like someone that does Muscle Response Testing, a Naturopath, or a Nutrition/Fitness Professional. Be sure they know about any medication you may be on either over the counter or prescribed.

Don't stop there. Take control of your own destiny and do your own research. There are many good resource books out there like: The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medication by Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D. and Today's Herbal Health by Louise Tenney, M.H.

You also need to consider that, many herbs are put together in a Supplement because one potentiates (makes each other work better) the other. This concept holds true with medication combinations. Many herbs can potentiate a medication, which can cause a toxic level of a medication or can block a pathway so a medication won't do its job.

It is safest to start slowly on an herbal supplement and listen to your body. It is often safest to start with a supplement that is more for health maintenance like Alfalfa, a balanced multi-vitamin/mineral supplement or some other whole food supplement. Frequently, when we give our body the balance of nutrients it needs it will do much to heal itself. The very safest nutrients are to go out in your organic garden and pick your own food. The less refined a food and the least chemicals you put in your body the less need you will have for extreme medical or herbal treatment. Preventative living is your safest bet.

Another thing that makes taking herbal supplement very tricky is that there is little standardization between companies. Use a reputable company or talk to someone that has personally had results from a company's supplement. Research the company, find out if they use organically grown herbs and the type and percent of filler they use.

Remember to take control of your own health care whether you opt for medical or herbal treatment. Ask question and do your own research. Listen to your body and remember "Everything in Moderation" and you will be well on your way to a healthier, happier you.

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Mary Howard, RN is a Registered Nurse, mother of two, and green thumb.

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