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Using Herbs Safely

Most herbal remedies are safe; in fact, in most cases they have few or no side effects. They are a natural alternative to treating conditions and have been used for thousands of years. While many herbal remedies are safe, it is important to understand that there are some risks involved in using them. Any medicine – herbal or otherwise – has the potential to have adverse effects (or side effects). Herbal remedies contain active ingredients and may interact with other medicines or cause side-effects. Don’t start taking any herbal remedies without speaking to your GP or pharmacist first. It’s also important not to stop taking any prescribed medicine without speaking to your GP, and not to exceed the recommended dose of herbal medicines. In order to be safe, follow these guidelines when using herbal remedies.

  • Interactions between herbal remedies and prescription drugs can occur. Read the directions that come with any pre-made herbal remedies that you buy.
  • Do not stop taking prescription drugs unless you first check with your doctor. Some prescriptions are necessary in keeping certain problems under control, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • If you are under a doctor’s care, meet with him to tell him you want to start taking herbal remedies. Together you can come up with a plan that will work for your specific circumstance.
  • If you are pregnant, do not take any herbal remedies without first consulting with your doctor.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dosage of an herbal product, even if it does not seem to work. Not all herbal remedies work the same on all people. Also, some herbal remedies need to build up in the system over days or weeks before they become effective.
  • Do not use herbal remedies on children under 3 without the approval of their doctor.
  • When giving herbal remedies to children remember to give the correct dosage for their weight. Do not give too much to a child.
  • Start with the lowest recommended dosage for your condition. If needed, you can increase the dose later on. When using skin creams you should test them on a small patch of unaffected skin first, to make sure you are not allergic to anything in them.