There are many people who choose herbs like they choose their dinner menu. There is more respect for the possible positive attributes than knowledge of the negative. As with the choice of food, this is not a good idea. You should know both.
Herbal knowledge for many is mostly hearsay. They hear somewhere that this herb is good for that condition, and then blindly begin to use it. Sometimes it is a familiar herb, and many times it is safe to use. However, not all are.
Apricot Kernels: I would be rich if I had a dollar for every time I saw, heard or read that someone was taking apricot kernels to prevent cancer. My usual reaction, though usually not spoken out loud, is that it probably could, as the kernels will kill you first.
The pits of very member of that family contain chemicals that kill. Cyanide is one of them. While the bark of the cherry tree can be used safely if prepared by an herbalist, the pits cannot.
To give an example would be a story from my husband’s shop class when he was in high school. The classroom had an industrial oven. When they wanted to harden metal, they put apricot pits and the metal in the oven. The pits would open, release the cyanide and the metal would be hard.
Blue Cohosh: Why this is still readily available in herb stores escapes me. Yes, it will help a woman in labor deliver faster. Unfortunately, she and the baby could be dead before that happens. It causes high blood pressure in both mother and child. Infants have been born in the process of having a heart attack.
Cinnamon Bark: I have a feeling that this will eventually become a useful treatment for diabetes. However, please pay attention to the word “eventually.” While well designed studies have been done and seem to indicate that it lowers blood sugar, using it on your own could drop your levels too much.
Datura: I am not going to name any members of this species because many young adults want to use them to get high. Every plant in this species can cause the central nervous system to shut down. This can lead to hallucinations and the shutdown of every system in the body. This includes involuntary actions such as breathing and heart rate. It’s not a good way to get high, it’s a good way to get dead.
Licorice Root: For most people, this plant is safe and effective. However, there are three things you should know. Don’t take it with any medications, as it could block the absorption of the medication. If you are diabetic, use the DGL format of the herb, as otherwise it has too much sugar in it to be safe. If you have high blood pressure, don’t take it at all, as it raises blood pressure.
Nutmeg: Every two or three decades, nutmeg comes into fashion as a means to euphoria, or of getting high. Like datura, that’s due to a shutdown of the cns. Unfortunately, it also makes you throw up. The combination of passing out and throwing up can cause aspiration, so there are two ways it can kill you. Keep in mind. One nutmeg can kill a child. Two can kill an adult.
I enjoy using herbs and telling people how to use them properly. They are often the best answer to most minor complaints and may be of service for more serious problems. The idea is, however, to actually live after you take them.