Safety Precautions and Best Practices

Making and working with herbal remedies is very safe. Still, it’s important to keep a few common sense guidelines in mind to ensure you get the most out of your ingredients and your time.

Label Everything:

If you don’t know what you’re taking, you can’t be sure it’s safe. Include details about all the ingredients in the remedy, as well as the date it was made.

Start Small:

Begin with small test batches and small doses when working with a new remedy. You can always scale up or take more later, but if an herb or preparation doesn’t agree with you, it’s best to discover that with a small amount.

Be Cautious With Pharmaceuticals:

Herbs and pharmaceutical drugs – including both prescription and over the counter medications – can interact in many ways. Sometimes this is beneficial. Positive herb/drug interactions may allow someone to reduce the dose of a drug or minimize its side effects – but it is a complicated subject and should be handled very carefully. It’s best to consult with a practicing herbalist or your health care provider if multiple drugs are taken simultaneously.

Use Your Senses:

Look at the herbs you’re working with and your finished product.

  • Check for mold in your jar of infused oil.
  • Check for bits of packaging material in your shipment of dried herbs.

Smell and taste your herbs and remedies to get a sense of their potency, and dose accordingly.

Make Only What You Need:

If you get great results from a particular remedy and you want to have it on hand every day, great – go for it. But no one needs a gallon of nasal spray solution, and it’ll go bad before you even get around to using it. Make only those remedies you need, and only as much as you need.

Begin With What’s Abundant:

In the beginning focus on herbs that are highly prevalent in the wild or grown commercially on a large scale. As you branch out into working with other plants, keep your focus on those that are local to you, and neither at risk nor endangered. Don’t be tricked into thinking a rare, exotic herb will be the only one to solve your problem – it’s vanishingly rare for that to be true.

Get The Herb To The Tissue:

Herbs need to be in contact with the affected tissue to help it. We can’t always just drink some herbal tea and get good results. Choose a delivery method that helps your herbs get where they need to act. For example:

  • If your’re working with a respiratory problem, go with a steam.
  • If you’ve got something on the skin, apply a soak or poultice.
  • If it’s trouble in the lower intestine, swallow some powder so it’s intact when it gets down there.

Source: Herbal Medicine for Beginners

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