I spoke about the benefits of Herbs in my previous article “Nature’s biggest gift for optimal health“.
As amazing as herbs are for optimal health, people with allergies and various food intolerances should be very cautious when consuming herbs as it can have various adverse effects on their health.
When it comes to health, prevention is extremely important especially when you are dealing with something as powerful as herbs. In this article I want to give an introduction on allergies and show you how to properly test an herb for allergies and intolerances.
Table of Contents
What are allergies?
Allergies are our body’s reaction to a chemical, internal or external and can be expressed in a variety of ways. Some of them can be harmless (such as acne, zits or bloating) and some can have more serious side effects such as anaphylaxis which can lead to anaphylactic shock and even death (for example, by obstruction of breathing as a result of a swollen tongue).
What to do when dealing with herbs?
If you understand the power of herbs and want to use them you must first make sure you are not allergic to what you will be using. There are a few approaches you can take in order to protect yourself:
- The first thing you can do is consult a doctor and an herbalist. Your doctor should be the one responsible for any such decision. A doctor can then ask you to take a blood test specifically for certain herbs where you can see your reaction to them.
- An herbalist can inform people on the contraindications of specific herbs and when they should not be used. Also, an herbalist can inform about specific combination of herbs or herbs with other substances that you should avoid.
- On a personal level, you could always research the desired herb and look into the side effects and precautions. However, be careful to use good and reliable resources as the internet is full of ‘experts’.
Testing herbal supplements before using them.
Once you have decided which herb is suitable for your own special case, I would recommend you do some further testing even if you have no allergies whatsoever. This method will protect you in the very rare occasion that you actually are allergic to the herb or its delivery method/forms as outlined below.
When you take herbal supplements, there is always a possibility of other ingredients added and while you may not be allergic to the main ingredient or herb, you may be allergic to one or more of the other ingredients that are present in the supplement.
Let’s see how you can do the testing with each one of them:
- Take a small pinch of the powder and put it on your tongue. If you sense any discomfort, tingling or swelling, wash your tongue off. This means that you are allergic to the herb.
- If you don’t see any difference in 15-30 minutes, it means that you are likely not allergic.
However, when you start using any herb you must always start with a small dose and work your way up gradually.
- When in tablet form, can cut a small piece, grind it down and put it on your tongue.
- If you sense any discomfort or swelling, wash your tongue off. This means that you are allergic to the herb.
- For capsules, you will need to open up the capsule and use the included powder to perform the same test as above (powder form).
- In tincture form, use 1 drop to perform the test. Just put it on your tongue and then see how you are feeling.
- Also, make sure that you do not have any kidney or liver problems as the tinctures are mostly alcohol-based.
There you have it. These are simple and easy ways to perform an allergy test before taking an herb or herbal supplement. Note that this test should not be performed with all substances and only refers to commercially available herbs, foods and supplements. DO NOT perform this test if you know you are allergic to a substance, herb, food or supplement. Always check with your doctor before performing any health- related procedures such as this one.
By using these methods, you can protect yourself from potential allergic reactions and be able to benefit from the use of herbs.
Have you ever an allergic reaction to a food, herb or supplement? If yes, what symptoms did you experience and how did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments below and share your experience with others.
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by Nick Sigma SHF
C.W.C, E.H, YRT-200