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Natural and Home Remedies » Precautions before using Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies can be a great alternative to prescription medication for a number of different ailments. Although herbal medicines are natural, and some have been in use for thousands of years, this does no t necessarily mean that they are always safe and without side effects. They can lead to herb-drug interactions, induce allergies, and cause other adverse reactions. Some are toxic and some contain little or no active ingredients.

Follow the following precautions before using the herbal medicine:

• Consult the doctor about the illness
• Inform the doctor that you will be considering the herbal alternative
• Infants, children, and the elderly should not use herbal preparations without professional advice
• Pregnant women, nursing mothers and those contemplating pregnancy should not use herbal preparations
• Do not rely on individual testimonies.  Understand that there may be risks involved
• Do not use herbal medicines with known adverse or toxic effects
• It is best to choose products made from a single botanical species and choose extracts over powdered plant material
• Avoid herbal medicines with exceptional claims. For example, those with words like “cure” and “no side effects”
• Choose only those medicines with a detailed listing of the contents and marked with an expiry date
• Do not exceed the recommended dosage or duration of use

Discontinue the use of herbal medicine when:

• There is development of skin rashes, breathing problems, or any other allergic or adverse reactions
• The symptoms deteriorate and don’t improve
• The recommended dosages have been completed

Warnings: 

• Discontinue use three weeks prior to elective surgery (some herbal medicines can affect blood pressure or cause bleeding)
• Always tell your doctor when and why you have stopped taking an herbal medicine, especially if it is due to allergic or adverse reaction
• Do not prolong use the herbal remedy

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