Top 5 Concerns when using Herbal Medicine

More than 50% of Americans are using some type of herbal supplement, as many as 18% use them in conjunction with pharmaceutical drugs and most do not inform their health care provider of herbal medicine use. {1}

Eight years later, I completely feel confident telling my doctor which herbs I am using, which herbs I am treating my children with and what dose I gave them.  In the beginning, there was a fear of telling them.  I was unable to answer all the questions they may have had and I didn't feel confident in my answers.  I encourage you to share with your healthcare provider the supplements you are taking and if they have questions, have them speak to your herbalist. There needs to be a greater connection between both healthcare fields.  

These topics just brush the surface of our many questions.  Let's start with a few concerns my clients have expressed to me.

# 1 What dose should I take?

  • The goal with botanical medicine dosing is to take an "effective dose"; a minimum dose maximizing efficacy and safety.  Also, the most economical for the client.  For example; Teas and change of diet are more cost effective than tinctures. 
  • The complexity of dosing is due to the fact that tinctures do not come in a single standard strength; they also have a variety of strengths and concentrations.
  • You can take 30-60 drops up to 5-10ml/day for an average adult weighing 140 lbs. and is not pregnant.  
  • Lower doses are better for chronic conditions and higher doses used for acute conditions.  
  • Dosing is not an exact science.  If you have any adverse symptoms stop the remedy.  
  • In acute situations {for example a sinus infection}, you would take more doses throughout the day for about 3-7 days.  When you feel better, you would stop. 

#3 I'm pregnant; what herbs should I avoid?

  • "Overall, most herbs have a high safety profile with little evidence of harm. Pregnant mommas commonly experience minor symptoms and discomforts for which the use of natural remedies may be gentler and safer than over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pharmaceuticals."
  • Please read Dr. Aviva Romm's Blog; What herbs to avoid with Pregnancy.  

#5 How do I know they are safe?

#2 What is an allergic reaction to botanical medicine?

  • Although allergic reactions to herbal medicine are uncommon some complaints consist of:
    • Runny nose
    • itchy eyes
    • minor skin reactions
    • to fatal anaphylactic shock
  • This may result from an allergy from the plant itself or milds, fungi or other unknown agents added to the 
  • Clients with known sensitivities to allergens in the Asteraceae family should avoid them all together. {This includes daisy's, sunflowers, grindella, echinacea, golden rod, kava & yarrow }
  • Stop all supplements when you have an adverse reaction. 

#4 How do herbs Interact with my heart medications?

A number of botanicals directly or indirectly affect the cardio vascular system and may interact with your medications.  

Here is a list of herbs to avoid in high doses when you are taking heart medication:

  • Hawthorne berry and leaf
  • Digitalis (foxglove), figwort, lily of the valley, squill, eleuthera
  • Artichoke, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, guggul, red rice yeast
  • Agrimony, arjuna, birch leaves, celery seed, corn silk tassels, cough grass, goldenrod, horsetail, juinper berry, phyllanthus and rehmannia. 
  • Coltsfoot
  • Diuretics 

Still have concerns? Comment below or email me @  For more information on Health Consultations, Click below. 

{1} Romm, Aviva; Botanical Medicine for Women's Health