Most herbs are usually safe for consumption by healthy people when used in the recommended doses.
In this article, we will talk about who can use herbs and actually benefit from their use and who should be cautious or should not use them at all. Let us start with a list of people who can benefit from using herbs.
Table of Contents
- 1 People who can use herbs
- 2 People who should be careful or not use herbs
- 2.1 Young children and babies
- 2.2 People with allergies
- 2.3 Older or people of advanced age
- 2.4 People who have no knowledge of a specific herb
- 2.5 People with medical conditions (physical or psychological)
- 2.6 People who are undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer related treatments
- 2.7 People who are scheduled for surgery
- 2.8 People who have undergone transplant operations and are on anti-rejection medication
- 2.9 Pregnant and or lactating women
- 2.10 Professional Athletes who take drug (anti-doping) tests
- 2.11 People who are subject to taking a drug test
People who can use herbs
People who want to lose weight
Some herbs have diuretic properties, while others can stimulate the thyroid and the metabolism. Most fat loss supplements contain some sort of herbal combination. Users should be very wary of the dosage, should never take more than the recommended and in some cases avoid using them for long periods of time in order to prevent serious health problems.
People who want to gain muscle
Since herbs can stimulate the metabolism and boost hormone levels (such as testosterone), they can help people who want to gain muscle or just people who need to gain weight. These herbs should be part of a solid nutrition program and often times accompanied by the appropriate weight training program.
However, users of such herbs must take heed to not abuse or underestimate the power of these herbs and follow specific guidelines that apply to their usage in order to protect their own health.
Professional or amateur athletes
Herbs can be very beneficial for the performance of professional or amateur athletes. Russia and China have often given their athletes herbal compounds who then went on to achieve records in the Olympic games and other organizations.
That being said, some herbs may give positive results in some doping tests so beware what kind of herbs you are using and for how long.
People who want to stay natural
This is a no brainer. A lot of people now understand the true potential of herbs and often opt for a non-invasive, non-destructive herbal supplement or even use simple spices (such as turmeric) instead of taking chemical painkillers.
Note that some people tend to use both drugs and herbs which can interfere with each other’s actions. Also, herbs are not a replacement for medical treatment. Your doctor is the one who can determine what is right for you.
People who want to stay healthy
For thousands of years, herbs have been praised for their anti-aging and immune protective properties. It is rumored that the secret of longevity is associated with proper use of specific herbs.
Even if those claims are nothing but folk legends, no one can deny the amazing health benefits of herbs and anyone who is interested in staying health should be including them in their lifestyle and nutrition.
People who should be careful or not use herbs
On the other hand, there are certain groups of people who should avoid the use of herbs as it can potentially harm their health and even cost them their life. Here is the list:
Young children and babies
People tend to think that because herbs are something innocent and found in nature, that they can give them to their children without any precautions. This is a big mistake as the sensitive system of children may react in a very violent way and end up hurting the child.
Never give herbs to your children and young babies without consulting your doctor first.
People with allergies
This should really be based on common sense. It is virtually impossible for people with allergies to use specific herbs. This applies to allergies related to the herb that they wish to consume and also might be related to underlying allergies, not connected with the herb. There is also a possibility of allergies coming from combining herbs or combining herbs with other substances (pharmaceutical or other).
Allergies can cause severe side effects, anaphylaxis and even death. For this reason, an allergy test is always required (even by people without allergies) to determine if the herb is safe for use by the interested party. Make sure you read my article on how to properly test an herb for allergies and intolerances.
Older or people of advanced age
Just like in the case of young children, certain herbal compounds can have dangerous side effects for the weak immune systems of people of advanced age along with problems of blood pressure, cholesterol and other issues. This is why is a must to always consult with a doctor before suggesting the use of herbs to older individuals.
People who have no knowledge of a specific herb
Using an herb without having any knowledge about its full spectrum of properties and contraindications is foolish and should be avoided at all costs.
This is why it is imperative that you research an herb before using it to make sure that it is right for your specific case and that it will not damage your health.
People with medical conditions (physical or psychological)
People who have medical conditions (physical or psychological) conditions such as diabetes, bipolar condition, schizophrenia, anxiety and more should avoid taking herbs.
The use of herbs is in some cases contraindicated for these people because some can either decrease or increase the effectiveness of their medication, causing severe health problems for the patient. Or in other cases, it can alter the chemistry of one’s brain or aggravate an existing medical condition.
Always consult with a doctor if you have any medical condition and before you start taking any kind of herb.
The same reason applies for this group of people. Even though herbs have shown a lot of promise in the fight against cancer, they are not officially approved for any kind of treatment and can also interfere with the existing medication.
Consult with your doctor if you belong in this category.
People who are scheduled for surgery
Taking herbs before going into surgery can interfere with the anesthesia and other drugs that may be administered during or after the surgery. These actions can endanger the life of the patient (believe me, I speak from personal experience as a patient).
Check with your doctor and stop using any herbs for at least 2-3 weeks before a surgery.
People who have undergone transplant operations and are on anti-rejection medication
As an extension of the above, make sure you do not use herbs after your surgery if you are under any kind of medication before consulting with your doctor. Some compounds in herbs can interfere with the anti-rejection medication and lead to rejection of the transplant!
Pregnant and or lactating women
Some herbs can interfere with hormones and cause problems for the pregnancy or the health of the fetus. In some cases, it can cause excessive bleeding or even a miscarriage. Make sure you consult with your doctor if you are pregnant before taking an herb.
Professional Athletes who take drug (anti-doping) tests
Professional athletes are often subject to taking an anti-doping test. These people should be careful when using herbs as some phyto-steroids in the herbs can cause a positive result to appear (positive for steroids).
A simple example is Deer Antler which can cause a rise in the IGF-1 marker, often associated with the use of HGH (Human Growth Hormone). Always consult with your coach and doctor if you are unsure about any herbal supplement or herb. At least, make sure you do not use herbal compounds you know nothing about, as those might affect your biochemistry and therefore the results of your medical tests.
People who are subject to taking a drug test
Just like in the case of athletes, professionals or other people who are subject to drug testing, should be careful when using certain herbs for medicinal or nutritional purposes as they can interfere with the results of the test. Consult with your doctor if you belong in this category.
Understanding who should use herbs and who should avoid them is important in order to protect your health and well-being. When in doubt, check with your doctor and do your own research on the herb.
Have you ever used an herb that caused you any kind of problem (legal, medical or otherwise)? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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by Nick Sigma
CWC, EH, E-YRT200