With many people now opting to improve their immune system with plant-based foods and supplements over vaccines, there is a misconception that taking more herbs at once is better. In fact, doing so can hinder improvements. As more people seek out herbal solutions, it is a good time to address the most common misconceptions about taking herbs and offer guidance on their proper consumption.
Misconception 1: Doubling the recommended amount will give better results.
Truth: Some herbs that are potent and effective in smaller amounts are contraindicated in larger doses.
A good example of this is Ephedra sinica, an herb that was banned in the US in 2004 by the FDA. More appropriately known as ‘Ma Huang’, this herb was used for centuries in China in herbal formulas for the common cold, flu, and asthma. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, its potency was understood and only a small amount was needed in combination with other herbs to see improvement. Once the West recognized that it also aided in weight loss, the safe dose was exceeded and combined with stimulants for quicker results. Unfortunately, this extreme misuse resulted in the deaths of several people; not because Ephedra is a bad herb.
Many people confuse ‘natural’ with being ‘weaker’ when it comes to having better health results. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. For substances like herbs and homeopathic formulas, smaller concentrations can have exceptional benefits. The same is true for many herbs and herbal supplements. Stick to the dose suggested on the bottle or what was recommended by an experienced herbalist for your specific condition.
Misconception 2: Taking more herbs at once equals quicker results.
Truth: Taking more herbs at once can interrupt your results.
You have a cold. You have several herbal syrups, teas, and capsules and all of them state that they are for cold and flu symptoms. Taking them all will get rid of the cold quicker right? In reality, taking them all could halt your results.
Some herbs are not synergistic; they don’t work well together. And in fact, taking them together can send your bodily systems into overwhelm. This is particularly true if you have digestive challenges. It is not uncommon to experience stomach cramping and loose stools with certain combinations. When this happens, you’re actually missing the opportunity to properly absorb the potent nutrients of the herbs.
For example, taking digestive herbs like ginger may be enough to calm nausea. However, taking ginger, senna leaf, cascara sagrada and other detoxing herbs may not only exacerbate the nausea, it could stimulate the colon in a way that is too intense for your current health needs. In the end, you end up feeling worse! The cold you were trying to get rid of is now prolonged. Less is more in this case.
It is important to remember that unlike drugs, herbs nourish the body. A depleted body does best not when it is 'hit hard' with herbs but when the herbs needed are taken with precision. Piling on more can put you steps behind healing at a comfortable pace.
Misconception 3: Taking herbal supplements with prescription drugs is safe.
Truth: Not all drugs and herbs mix well together.
Many of our clients come to us because they want to transition away from prescription drugs. The benefits are incredible. However, while that transition is being made, it is imperative that you’re aware of herb-drug interactions. Licorice, for example, is excellent for digestion but may not be the best herb for someone one high blood pressure medications. This does not mean that you will never be able to use licorice; it means a level of care is needed during the transitional period where you are not able to safely replace your physician-prescribed meds yet. Most physicians are not trained to easily recognize these interactions, however many expert herbalists are well aware.
While we could create a list of these interactions, you’ll receive the best guidance to your specific condition by having a personalized consultation. It is important to work with an herbalist to work out the appropriate dosage and application of your herbal supplements.
And as a valuable aside, if you desire to use more medicinal herbs for your health ailments, we highly recommend working with a physician who supports this as well. If you choose to take the healthy route of saying no to vaccines, we also encourage you to work with an herbalist who can guide you towards the right herbs to improve your immune response. It will make your journey to better health much easier.