While many of the herbs listed on the Witchipedia can be used safely and effectively to treat minor ailments, many are dangerous and others have never been proven effective outside of old wives tales. Herbs should be used as treatments only in non-life-threatening situations and under the supervision of an experienced physician or herbalist.
I do suggest that everyone incorporate herbs into their cooking and herbal teas into their diet for general health and I must also strongly suggest the importance of a healthy overall diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and quality proteins such as lean means, beans and tofu. Use herbs in place of salt and to reduce your sugar intake. Drink herbal teas instead of acidic sodas and high caffeine beverages.
You will find many useful recipes at our sister site, Kitchen Witch Corner.
Herbs may also be used in place of chemicals for cosmetics and other products for people who have sensitive skin or an overdeveloped sense of smell. Do not assume that just because something is natural it is safe. Use the same caution with homemade herbal products as you do with store bought products, especially if you have known allergies. If you begin having an allergic reaction (swelling, itching, rash, difficulty breathing), stop using the herb immediately and consult your physician. One method for determining if you are allergic to an herb is to put a drop of herbal water or oil on a bandaid and sticking it to the inside of your elbow. If any redness or itching occurs, you’re probably allergic to the herb and shouldn’t use it. One herb worth note is chamomile. If you have hay fever, you are probably allergic to it, as it is a member of the wild daisy family.
Allergies are not your only concern when using herbs. Some herbs can interact with pharmaceutical drugs and even with each other! You should always tell your doctor what herbal supplements you are taking, but don't rely on him or her to know everything. Western medicine is only just beginning to train its doctors to watch for herb-drug interactions. Many people use herbs for health because we want to be proactive with our health care, we should also do some of our own research. Check out the following sites for herb counter-indications and possible drug reactions:
An interactive electronic herbal database
Herbal Side Affects and Warnings
From Personal Health Zone
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