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More than 50% of Americans are using some type of herbal supplement, as many as 18% use them in conjunction with pharmaceutical drugs and most do not inform their health care provider of herbal medicine use. {1}

Eight years later, I completely feel confident telling my doctor which herbs I am using, which herbs I am treating my children with and what dose I gave them.  In the beginning, there was a fear of telling them.  I was unable to answer all the questions they may have had and I didn’t feel confident in my answers.  I encourage you to share with your healthcare provider the supplements you are taking and if they have questions, have them speak to your herbalist. There needs to be a greater connection between both healthcare fields.

These topics just brush the surface of our many questions.  Let’s start with a few concerns my clients have expressed to me.

# 1 What dose should I take?

  • The goal with botanical medicine dosing is to take an “effective dose”; a minimum dose maximizing efficacy and safety.  Also, the most economical for the client.  For example; Teas and change of diet are more cost-effective than tinctures.
  • The complexity of dosing is due to the fact that tinctures do not come in a single standard strength; they also have a variety of strengths and concentrations.
  • You can take 30-60 drops up to 5-10ml/day for an average adult weighing 140 lbs. and is not pregnant.
  • Lower doses are better for chronic conditions and higher doses used for acute conditions.
  • Dosing is not an exact science.  If you have any adverse symptoms stop the remedy.
  • In acute situations {for example a sinus infection}, you would take more doses throughout the day for about 3-7 days.  When you feel better, you would stop.

#2 What is an allergic reaction to botanical medicine?

  • Although allergic reactions to herbal medicine are uncommon some complaints consist of:
    • A runny nose
    • itchy eyes
    • minor skin reactions
    • to fatal anaphylactic shock
  • This may result from an allergy from the plant itself or milds, fungi or other unknown agents added to the
  • Clients with known sensitivities to allergens in the Asteraceae family should avoid them all together. {This includes daisy’s, sunflowers, grindelia, echinacea, goldenrod, kava & yarrow }
  • Stop all supplements when you have an adverse reaction.

#3 I’m pregnant; what herbs should I avoid?

  • “Overall, most herbs have a high safety profile with little evidence of harm. Pregnant mommas commonly experience minor symptoms and discomforts for which the use of natural remedies may be gentler and safer than over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pharmaceuticals.”
  • Please read Dr. Aviva Romm’s Blog; What herbs to avoid with Pregnancy.  

#4 How do herbs Interact with my heart medications?

A number of botanicals directly or indirectly affect the cardiovascular system and may interact with your medications.

Here is a list of herbs to avoid in high doses when you are taking heart medication:

  • Hawthorne berry and leaf
  • Digitalis (foxglove), figwort, lily of the valley, squill, Eleuthera
  • Artichoke, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, guggul, red rice yeast
  • Agrimony, Arjuna, birch leaves, celery seed, corn silk tassels, cough grass, goldenrod, horsetail, juniper berry, Phyllanthus, and Rehmannia.
  • Coltsfoot
  • Diuretics

#5 How do I know they are safe?


Many herbs can be used safely in conjunction with medications when you know which botanicals to avoid.  St. John’s Wort is often the number one herb that may cause adverse effects.

Book a health consultation with Tara to see which herbs are best for you and your medication.

Have questions? Please comment below.



More than 50% of Americans are using some type of herbal supplement. Discover the 4 concerns when using botanicals and what to avoid.
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