Choosing the right herb

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Choosing the right herb - How do I decide which is the right herbal remedy for what I need?

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One of the many questions I get is: How do I decide which herb to use?

The answer is not totally simple. To a large extent all you need to do is to match the therapeutic effects of the herb (which I now call "Remedy Profile" on my herb pages) with the effect you are trying to achieve. There are however other considerations:

Are there side effects? Just because they are "natural" does not mean that herbs are not potentially dangerous. Where we become aware of it we include side effects in the herb profile pages but most herbs contain several constituents that very little is known about and each constituent potentially has an effect. When these effects are therapeutically positive, valuable or significant they are called "properties" when not they are called "side effects".

Does the herb address all the symptoms?
It is never a good idea to use multiple herbs unless absolutely necessary, as it is expensive and, more importantly, as all herbs have many constituents that have many effects, it becomes almost impossible to know what effect a herbal all-variety-soup will have and at what stage it may become harmful.

Is the herb available?
Many of the herbs we discuss on our pages are rare or not produced locally. Finding an international source for the herb of your choice could be time consuming and expensive.

Will I know which dosage to take?
If you buy a commercial preparation of the drug it normally comes with dosage and instructions on when and how to administer.
If you are making your own preparation from the herb, regardless of how it is prepared, dosage becomes a very real issue. For some herbs the difference between a fatal dosage and a therapeutic dosage is  small (examples are Warfarin used for heart disease and as a rat poison and Ergotamine used for migraines which in overdose will cause violent convulsions and death).
Concoctions, infusions and tinctures, just to mention a few of the possible preparations of herbal medicines, vary considerably in strength depending on the method of preparation, accuracy of preparation, age of the herb and purity of the herb. For the amateur this is a game of hit or miss but with some herbs it could be Russian roulette.
On Beneforce we do not have dose information. Consult a professional and remember too little may have no beneficial effect, too much and it could be fatal.
Not all herbs are dangerous, in fact the majority are not. but to be effective the dosage must be right.

Here is how you can use our pages to find the right herb for you:

  • Find the condition you wish to treat in our Symptoms Directory - if the condition is not there decide on the major symptom of the condition and start there.
  • Click on the Condition/Symptom. That should take you to a page that describes the condition or symptom which has a list of possible remedies by modality.
  • Look under Herbal Modalities which will soon be divided between Major and Minor herbs (bear with me - I just thought that I should split these so for a while they will all be uncategorized)
  • Choose a herb by clicking on the link.
  • Now you will be at that herb's page. By reading about the herb you should get a feel for how well it matches the complaint that you are trying to address. Be sure to read not only the major effects but also the minor effects. If it is a perfect fit after considering all of the above you may decide to look no further, but, if not, just return to the conditions/symptoms page and do it all again for the next most probable herb.

This may seem to be a very complex way of finding a remedy but do not forget that herbs are by their very nature complex. Unlike most pharmaceutical preparations they are not an extract of a single compound but a blend of a great variety of chemicals called constituents. Each of these constituents potentially has a therapeutic value but in many cases it may not be desired or even good for you, so it is necessary to understand the effect of the whole herb. I strongly suggest that you consult a qualified practitioner.

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* Statements made have not been evaluated by American Food and Drug Authority or similar board or authority of any other country.
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