Are herbal remedies safe?

There is no single answer to this question. The safety of herbal remedies can depend on a number of factors, including the dosage of the herb in question, the state of health of the person taking it, and whether or not the person is already taking one or more prescription drugs.

There are a number of herbs which are generally safe to take in reasonable quantities: herbs such as Chamomile or Lime flowers, for instance. But some herbs, such as Lobelia, can be positively dangerous in high doses, and other herbs should only be used externally. Some herbs such as Arnica and Comfrey are best not used on broken skin. Other herbs should be used with caution if you suffer from certain medical complaints. For example, Liquorice and the Ginsengs should not be used if you suffer from high blood pressure.

There are other herbs which can interact in adverse ways with prescription drugs. For example, you should not use St. John's Wort if you are already taking an antidepressant such as Prozac or Seroxat.

You can rest assured that the herbs dispensed at Alton & James are of the highest quality and come from reputable suppliers who can guarantee their provenance.

The best person to consult about which herbs are safe, and in what circumstances, is a professional herbalist.

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