1.         Don't take herb identity for granted.  If in doubt don't use it!  Get to know the herbs you are using and if you want to try a new herb do some research and talk with people who know what it looks like.  

2.         Use only the recommended amounts for the amount of time advised. Herbs in large doses, over a period of time can harm.  Remember that some of our drugs came from herbs and that they should be considered medicine.  Treat an herb like you would a drug.   Drugs and herbs can interact.  Include herbs in the medication your are taking when seeing a doctor where or not the doctor knows anything about herbs.  

3.         If you are over 65 or sensitive to other drugs, start with a low-strength preparation.  Many elderly people develop sensitivity to drugs.  

4.         Be extra cautious if you have a chronic disease.  Healing herbs may interact with other drugs.  Check with your physician and pharmacist about possible problems.  

5.         Pay attention to any symptoms of toxicity or allergy reaction.  If you develop stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, and/or headache within an hour or two or up to three days of taking any herb, stop taking it and see if your symptoms subside.   If you have a severe reaction call your doctor immediately.  An allergic reaction can also produce hives, vomiting, and swelling of body parts.  You can be allergic to anything.  Children can grow out of an allergy and you can develop an allergy later in life.   

6.         Be careful when using essential oils.  Essential oils are volatile oils and are highly concentrated.  Amounts that may seem small will have a big affect and may cause harm.  If you use any, put them in a carrier oil like sunflower or almond oil or another type of carrier like baking soda or alcohol.  

7.            Pregnant and nursing women should not use medicinal amounts of healing herbs.  Herbs, that cause no problems for adults, may be harmful to unborn and newborns.  Pregnant women should use herbs medicinally only with the consent and supervision of their obstetrician or naturopath or midwife.  

8.         With few exceptions, medicinal amounts of healing herbs should not be given to children under age 2.  If you do give an herbal preparation to a young child check with a health care professional.  

9.         Herbs should only be kept for 2 years.  After two years the oils dissipate and are not as potent. 

Useful Books to learn more about herbs and Aromatherapy:
“The Green Pharmacy” by James A Duke, Ph. D.
2.        “The Complete book of Essential oils &Aromatherapy” by Valerie Ann Worwood
“The Holistic Herbal” by David Hoffmann
“Herbal Medicine: The natural way to get well and stay well” by Dian Dincin Buchman
“Aromatherapy: The complete guide to plant and flower essences for health and beauty” by Daniele Ryman
“The Healing Herbs: The ultimate guide to the curative powers of nature’s medicines” by Michael Castleman

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