In recent years the issue of Alternative Healing has skyrocketed to the forefront of the medical field. A 2004 government survey concluded that more than one third of adults use alternative medicine and healing.
However, there are over 300,000 higher plant species. A good herbalist may know of one or two thousand of them. This means that even an experienced herbalist can make mistakes. Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems.
Pregnant women should avoid barberry root bark, cascara sagrada, feverfew, juniper berries, mugwort, pennyroyal, pokeroot, rue, senna, southernwood, tansy, thuja and wormwood. All of those herbs can increased a risk for miscarriage. Safe herbs during pregnancy would be Manna, Butternut Bark or Root, Flax Seed, Slippery Elm and Lemon Verbena.
No matter what herb(s) you are taking, be mindful of anything unexpected. Stop taking whatever it is and consult an expert you can trust.
Make certain you have the correct diagnosis. Diagnosis is not easy and sometimes doctors make mistakes. Generally, however, a doctor is much better equipped to diagnose. Discuss any planned herbal discipline you plan to undertake with your physician.
Watch for any allergic reactions. Even though you may have never had any allergies in the past, if you are embarking on an herbal journey, watch carefully for any adverse reactions. If you experience difficulty in breathing within 30 minutes of trying a new herb, food or drug, call 911 immediately! You may be having an anaphylactic reaction which is the most severe form of allergic reaction. This condition can quickly become fatal unless treated promptly. This reaction is rare, but you need to be careful and be aware.
Watch for any interactions. Medicines often interact negatively with one another. So do herbs. Always be careful when taking more than one drug or herb or a combination of both. If you suspect an interaction consult your physician or pharmacist.
One interaction that you should be aware of is Antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. They interact badly with wine, cheese and many other foods. St. John’s Wort is also an MAO inhibitor so the same food restrictions apply. If you plan on using St. John’s Wort, discuss it with your physician or pharmacist.
Lastly, make certain that both your physician AND your herbalist are fully aware of all medications and/or herbal treatments you are using.