I want to talk to you about Safety. There are a lot of misconceptions out there regarding herbal healing and other uses of herbs (such as for feminization), and I hope with this to be able to clear some of those up. Safety with any treatment is essential for overall health and well-being, whether it be allopathic or alternative in nature.
Herbs Are Medicine!!
Herbs should be treated with the very same respect that most of us give to prescription drugs. Many herbs can be harmful in large or prolonged dosages, as can most anything in this life, I might add. Some herbs can be addictive after long-term improper use. Some are poisonous. Some can have toxic side effects if not properly balanced with herbs that counteract those effects. They should not ever be used on a daily basis without the proper guidance of a health care professional. Many people feel that just because herbs are natural, they can’t be hurt by them. Nothing can be further from the truth. Uranium is natural, too, that doesn’t mean we are all lined up clamoring to live right next to a uranium mine!
You must know something about herbs before attempting to use them in any therapy. You must know the herbs that interfere with the body’s natural functions. You must know the herbs that work together properly. You must know the herbs that balance each other. You must know what you are treating. You must know which herbs should not be used for prolonged periods of time. And if you don’t know any of these items, you should not go against the advice of those trained extensively in the use of herbs! The incorrect use of herbs is what gives natural remedies a bad name, such as the repeated use of Ephedra (Ma Huang) in diet pills. That is a gross and criminal misuse of a valuable herb, and now the FDA is considering banning this herb simply because commercial companies refuse to use herbs responsibly, focusing instead on the Almighty Dollar. Don’t perpetuate this sort of misuse!
More Is Not Better!!
Many people feel that if a little makes me feel better, a lot will make me feel fantastic. Or in the case of feminization – if this much will give me this result in three months, then doubling it will give me those results faster. This is not the case with herbs (nor with synthetics!!!). Dosages need to be carefully controlled, as with any medicine. You wouldn’t swallow a whole bottle of antibiotics at one time to kill a bacterial infection. Apply the same caution to herbal medicines. It is possible to overdose!
Herbs usually work slowly, with the body and its own natural defenses and functions. You must give herbs time to work before changing your dosages. In this modern world of a “pill for everything”, folks have come to expect instant cures, instant relief. You should note that with chronic illness, even prescription drugs take time to work. The same applies with herbal medicines. Give them time to work. Support them with a proper diet, with exercise, and with proper attention to yourself. If the herbs aren’t working for you, then you either have the wrong combinations, the wrong dosages, or you aren’t adhering to a proper healing regimen. Contact a trained health care professional for guidance as to what works for you and your specific body.
One Dose Does Not Fit All!!
You wouldn’t give a small child the same amount of cough syrup or pain reliever or antibiotics you give an adult. The same applies with herbal medicines. The dose must fit the individual. The dosages and combinations need to be based on the illness treated, your past and present medical history, your age, your weight, and several other factors. Combinations must be chosen so as not to interfere with any specifics with your particular body, and so as not to further aggravate that which is being treated. A trained health care professional can help you choose the proper combinations and dosages for your unique body and health concerns.
Tell Your Doctor What You Are Taking!!
You wouldn’t hide the fact that you are a smoker or a drinker or have a heart condition from your physician. You shouldn’t hide the fact that you are using herbal medicines, either. Some herbs can have serious adverse reactions when improperly mixed with prescription drugs. Just because they are natural doesn’t mean there can’t be reactions! Many chemical drugs are derived from healing plant constituents. So you could be causing a serious problem for yourself if you are getting far too much of something that is supposed to be helping you. There is no reason to hide. Herbal healing is becoming much more mainstream today, and many physicians are learning about herbs as medicine. If yours isn’t, then help educate him or her. Or find a doctor that can help you work with your herbs. Most communities have herbal professionals, naturopathic doctors, Chinese Medicine practitioners, and other professionals that are trained in the proper uses of the healing herbs. Seek one out before you make some major mistakes with your precious body.
I would like to add here that you should also be completely honest with your naturopathic doctor or herbal professional as well! Little tidbits of information such as you drink a six-pack a night may not be information your physician gives a damn about unless he is dealing with liver failure, but it is vital information to us natural health practitioners. And if you are taking prescription drugs, legally or illegally, we need to know about it!
Certain herbs should never be combined with certain prescriptions, and if we don’t know about it before we suggest a proper herbal regimen, we can’t be sure that we are giving you proper and safe information. Don’t be shy! We can’t ethically turn you in for pot smoking – we are bound by the oath of our professions, and the client-doctor confidentiality is held as sacred by us as it is with any other health care professional. But we do need to know this information so we can properly care for you! Certain things, such as alcohol, prescription drugs, etc. react very differently when confronted with herbs. So if we do not know what all is in your body, we do not know what to and what not to prescribe for effective safe treatment.
But The Drug Companies Are Recommending Herbs!!
Indeed, there are growing numbers of drug companies that are jumping on the natural health bandwagon. However, this does not give you license to just use whatever you see in a commercial or magazine ad in hopes that it will improve your condition (or hasten your feminization). Again, most herbs should not be used on a daily basis over the long term, without the proper care and guidance. That can actually do more harm than not using an herb at all. Educate yourself before reaching for that one-a-day herb. You may not need it for what you think you do. Just because it has a “name” behind it does not make it safe for continued daily use. Seek guidance from a trained health care professional if you are confused or unsure of what to do with these new products.
Following these guidelines will help you to get the most from your herbal treatments. You will be healthier and happier if you don’t fall for media hype that is out there just to sell a product. Stick to what is known, and preferably from someone who is properly trained in the uses of medicinal herbs. Don’t indiscriminately choose an herb without knowing exactly what to expect from it, good and bad. Always treat your herbal medicines with respect, and they will do the same for you.