By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Just because it comes from a plant doesn’t make it safe.
Plants clearly have a lot of benefits for humans. They provide us with food, lumber for shelter, and the beauty of their flowers. There was a time in the past when plants were the only effective medications. Unfortunately, plants can also be harmful. Poison ivy can damage your skin and some plants are poisonous enough to kill you. The challenge is to know which plants are helpful and which are harmed.
There is a common misconception because something comes from a plant that makes it safe. Some plants are like water, in small amounts beneficial, maybe even necessary. But sometimes too much of a good thing can drown you. So how do we know when an herbal preparation is potentially dangerous?
The problem with tobacco.
Tobacco in one form or another has been used by humans for a very long time. In the 1800s tobacco is used as a treatment for diseases. It’s only recently that we’ve come to recognize the significant problems tobacco use can cause.
Tobacco on the market today is likely much stronger than what people consumed a thousand years ago. It’s also much more readily available.
One of the major components of tobacco is nicotine. Nicotine is an effective insecticide. It’s good at killing insects. Unfortunately, nicotine extracted from tobacco is highly poisonous for humans also. This is a plant you shouldn’t eat. Any exposure to the nicotine in tobacco can be harmful.
Some problems with herbal medications.
First some general considerations and then a list of specific herbs that have been identified as potentially harmful.
There can be some significant problems with herbal medications. Most are largely unregulated. How they are grown and processed affects their potency. If you’re going to use herbal medications, you need to be an informed consumer and not rely on someone else to assure that the herbal medications are safe and effective. Here are some of the problems you may find with herbal medications.
Herbs are sold by plant weight, not by purity.
Herbal products are commonly sold by weight. You know how much you’re getting by weight but not what the active ingredients are. Think about the difference between eating fresh salad greens and letting them dry out in the sun for several months. How plants are picked and processed affects the amount of active ingredients in them. The common recommendation is that if you’re going to use an herbal product stick with one brand so that what you’re getting is more consistent.
Dosage of herbs is inconsistent.
Any herb may contain numerous chemicals. How much of what you’re getting varies between manufacturers and may even vary from one batch to the next.
Problems when herbs are combined with RX meds.
Interactions between prescription meds are common and are frequently well studied. If you are taking multiple prescribed medications, you should review them with your doctor. Interactions between herbal products and prescribed medications are less well known. It’s still a good policy you’re going to take an herbal medication to tell your doctor so that you don’t create an interaction between a prescribed med and an herbal product.
Here is a short list of herbal products that have been identified as being potentially harmful. Some of this risk involves dosage. Many people think if one pill is good then taking three or four a day might be even better. Higher doses may result in damage to certain organs.
You will find a video about herbal medications on the Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel. Here, as promised, is the list of herbal preparations that were discussed in that video which may have potentially harmful consequences.
Herbs which may be harmful.
Also called: Aconiti tuber, aconitum, angustifolium, monkshood, radix aconti, wolfsbane
Also called: 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine
Also called: Creosote bush, greasewood, larrea divaricata, larrea tridentata, larreastat
Also called: Coughwort, farfarae folium leaf, foalswort, tussilago farfara
Also called: Blackwort, bruisewort , slippery root , symphytum officinale
Also called: Teucrium chamaedrys, viscidum
Also called: Celandine, chelidonium majus, chelidonii herba
Green Tea Extract Powder
Also called: Camellia sinensis
Also called: Ava pepper, kava , piper methysticum
Also called: Asthma weed, lobelia inflata, vomit wort, wild tobacco
Also called: Oxilofrine, p-hydroxyephedrine, oxyephedrine, 4-HMP
Also called: Hedeoma pulegioides, mentha pulegium
Red Yeast Rice
Also called: Monascus purpureus
Also called: Beard moss, tree moss, usnea
Also called: Johimbi, pausinystalia yohimbe, yohimbine, corynanthe johimbi
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel