Five Things Your Master Herbalist Wants You to Know

There are a lot of things I wish my clients knew about herbal remedies. Some of them could save them pain or save lives. Here are five that I think are very important.

Interactions and Side Effects: I get this a lot. People are convinced that “all natural” means that it’s safe. That is far from the truth. Herbal remedies can interact with medicationsâÂ?¦and other herbal remedies. They have side effects you may not want to experience.

One of the best examples is that of bronchitis and ginseng. As it’s pointed out in Richard Mabey’s The New Age Herbalist, taking ginseng when you have bronchitis will actually make you worse. There are very few who know that.

Sick in the Middle of the Night: This has happened on numerous occasions. Someone I know is sick at a point in time when all pharmacies and doctor’s offices are closed. One of the best benefits of being a Master Herbalist is knowing how to use the things commonly found in a kitchen to help until the stores and offices are open. The oddest combination I remember is orange peel, candied ginger and cloves for a sore throat. If you need to call me, call. I don’t mind.

Safety in the Tea Aisle: This is another hot button issue for most qualified herbal practitioners. Just because it’s for sale in a grocery store near you doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe for you. Cinnamon tea tastes great, but if you have diabetes you could have problems.

Who to Consult: I am not the first person you should consult unless it is the middle of the night. You need to find out what you have and what medications you will need before I can be of most value.

Legal Matters: The FDA is wise in being strict about who can diagnose and prescribe. I can suggest ideas and treatments but I cannot prescribe them. I can’t promise what the outcome will be, either. This is why I say you should consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal remedy

It takes a long time to learn all of the subjects needed to become a Master Herbalist. Among other things we have to study botany, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and some legal studies. Most of us are familiar with herbal lore in one or more cultures. It’s a fascinating study and well worth the time it takes.

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