Some herbs can have dangerous interactions with conventional medications, so if you are on any medications, consult a professional doctor, herbalist or naturopath first before you start any herbal treatment.
If you do react badly to a herbal remedy, stop taking it immediately and seek professional help.
How to use herbs safely:
- Over-the-counter herbs are generally safe.
- If you are harvesting herbs from the wild, you have to know exactly what herb it is that you are collecting.
- Make sure that you use the correct part of the plant.
- Match the correct herb to the condition that you want to treat.
- Stick to well-known herbs, with minimal side effects.
- Check if the herb has been prepared properly.
- Always tell your health-care professional what conventional medication or herbal remedy you are on.
- If you are on any prescribed medication, seek professional advice before using any herbal remedy.
- Some herbs can trigger allergic reactions, so if you are allergy-prone visit a qualified herbalist before taking any herb.
Take note of the following dangerous interactions:
- The most common dangerous interactions between herbs and conventional medicine happen in people that are using anticoagulants (blood thinning) drugs like Warfarin and Heparin.
- Certain herbs like Gingko biloba and Chinese angelica enhance the blood thinning activity of anticoagulants thereby increasing someone's risk of internal and external bleeding.
- St. John's wort: if you are taking antibiotics, anti-epileptics, immune-suppressants or anti-depressants you should not take St. John's wort as it can reduce the effectiveness of the other drugs.