Frequently asked questions – what to herbalists get asked?
Here are some of the most common questions I get asked and the answers I give.
1. Can herbs be used to treat children?
The simple answer is yes but with everything that depends on what the situation is, is the child taking medication? For more information on herbs and children take a look at my recent blog.
2. Can herbs be used to help eczema?
The answer is yes in most cases but dietary and lifestyle changes also need to be taken into account. The treatment will be taking herbs both internally and externally, while treating the whole person and the cause. I have written three blogs on eczema, “Eczema – what is it, What role does diet play in eczema, and Can herbs help to alleviate the symptoms of eczema?”
3. Can helps be used by people taking medication?
That depends on the type of medication they are taking, the dosage and the reason they are taking it. There are many medications that are sensitive to not just herbs but foods too. It is important to always consult a medical herbalist if you are taking medication and want to take herbs too. They are trained to understand the interactions between herbs and drugs and they will be able to offer alternative herbs that do not interact with your medication.
I will be writing more about how herbs interact with drugs and safe herbs to use at home in a new blog.
4. Can I give herbs to my dog?
Lots of people want to look after the health of their pets in a more natural way and it’s understandable that they would want to look at using herbs for that. However, it is important to remember that only a veterinarian can prescribe medicines of any kind, whether herbal or not to any animal.
The rules around herbal medicines for animals are quite similar to people in that you can buy some herbal products over the counter from your vet. They are approved herbal medicines and include things like anti-anxiety drops for dogs which contain valerian.
There is a bit of a crossover however with herbs that are more foods than medicines. There are lots of recipes where culinary herbs are given in homemade dog food to improve nutrition. If you are wanting to do this make sure the information is from a reputable source (i.e. approved by a vet).
5. Can I make my own herbal medicines?
Yes, and I encourage you do to so. I have some tips and easy to follow recipes for using simple herbal medicines at home. Take a look at my free downloads here.
6. Can herbs be used in pregnancy?
There are some herbs that can be used in pregnancy, for example raspberry leaf tea, but I always recommend anyone who is pregnant and wanting to take herbs to speak to a medical herbalist before taking herbs.
7. Can herbs cure cancer?
This is a very important point. There is no ‘cure’ for cancer whether herbal or pharmaceutical. Chemotherapy for example is a treatment of cancer, not a cure.
The law states very clearly that no-one must claim to cure cancer. So if you see an advert for a new Amazonian herb that can ‘cure’ cancer please don’t go out and buy it.
Herbalists can support people with cancer and who are undergoing cancer therapies, for example, herbs can be used to reduce the side effects from chemotherapy.
Please remember if you are unsure or have any questions about herbs and whether they are right for you, it is important to get the advice of a medical herbalist.
You can find a qualified medical herbalist using any of these lists, or you can get in touch with me.
- Association of Master Herbalists
- The College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy
- The National Institute of Medical Herbalists
- The Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners