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Before starting on herbal remedies it is important to familiarise yourself with several important safety considerations concerning the use of herbs. Just because herbs are natural does not mean that they are always safe for you and a herb that is suitable for you to use at one stage of your life may not be suitable at another.
Always test a small sample of the herb or blend , looking for any adverse body reactions before starting in quantity.
DO NOT self-medicate for a condition that requires regular monitoring by your doctor
There are many herbs that have the potential to interact with prescribed medications. This means the herb can alter the way our body deals with medication so it is very important to check with your doctor before commencing on any herbal protocols if you are on medications.
A good example is St John's wort. While it is known as a great depression remedy; it should never be combined with prescribed medicines as it interferes with the effectiveness of many drugs including prescribed anti-depressant medication.
Since some herbs interact with medications, it is important to cease the use of herbal teas before a scheduled surgery to help minimise such risk. As a rule of thumb, all therapeutic herbal treatments, including herbal teas, should stopped at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery. In a case of an emergency surgery always inform your medical practitioner about any herbal teas that you are taking.
PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING
Some herbalists believe that no herbal teas should be used in the first trimester of pregnancy, even those which are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy and lactation.
There is however, a class of herbs that must never be used during pregnancy and those are the herbs known as emmenagogues (herbs that promote menstruation). Some of the most common emmenagogues herbs are Wormwood species, Barberry, Blue cohosh, Greater celandine, Black cohosh, Cinchona species, Saffron, Male Fern, Cotton root bark, Golden seal, Juniper, Pennyroyal, Oregano, Poke root, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Burnet, Tansy, Thuja and Artemisia species. Although this list is not exhaustive however these are the key herbs that must be avoided at all stages of pregnancy and during lactation.
There are some herbs that their secondary metabolities can trigger an issue known as photosensitivity whereby the skin is made more sensitive to UV light. Such reaction can result in hot, red, and even blistered skin. This means that we must be careful about exposing the skin to strong sunlight or UV light follwoing the high consumption of herbs rich in photosensitising components.Such herbs include angelica root, Anise, Celery seed, Parsley, St John's wort and Wild carrot.
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