Testing Herbal Remedies

Always test herbal remedies before applying or digesting

Chemist working at the laboratory

Whether you are receiving an herbal remedy from a licensed medical herbalist or creating one yourself, you need to always test the ingredients if possible, as well as the herbal remedy itself. “Why,” you may ask? To ensure that you have no extreme allergic reaction.

You may be wondering how anyone could be allergic to something so natural as an herb. Well, you must realize that it may not always be the herb itself that causes the reaction, it may be the amount of the herb digested or the oil contained in the herb. For this reason, it is always best to be cautious and test everything.

Here are a few tips I always take to make sure that I or anyone in my family don’t have an allergic reaction to any herbal medicine.

Test the Herb

If you create or you are creating an herbal medicine for you and/or your immediate family members, you should test the herb on everyone who would eventually take the remedy. What you should do is take one leaf from the herb (for each family member), fold it in half twice in order to release it’s oils, rub it on a single spot on the back of the hand and wait 24 hours. If no one shows signs of redness or breakouts, then the herb is safe to use.

Test the Essential Oil

Not all essential oils are created equal. For you and everyone in your family, add a drop of oil on a single spot on the back of the hand (preferably not the same place where you tested the herb), and wait 24 hours. If no one shows signs of redness or breakouts, then the essential oil is safe to use.

Test the Herbal Remedy

Most herbal remedies consist of herbs and essential oils. However, if there are other ingredients used besides these, then you should test those in like manner. Now, that you’ve combined your ingredients to make your herbal remedy, it is now time to test it on you and your family. Add a drop of the remedy on a single spot on the back of the hand (preferably not the same place where you tested the herb and oil) and wait 24 hours. If no one shows signs of redness or breakouts, then the herbal remedy is safe to use.

Now, what if something unexpected happen such as you or someone in your family passed the first two tests, but failed the last one. Well, it could be that the higher concentration of one ingredient or the combination of several ingredients caused a reaction where in and of themselves caused none. If this happens, then this is probably a remedy that should be strictly labeled (you should always label your remedies and herbs as well as date stamp them) and noted who should not take it. However, to be honest, if it was me, I would get rid of it to make sure that it is not mistakenly taken by those who are allergic.

Hope this helps, and if you have any questions or tips of your own, please feel free to post in the comments below.

Written by Joshua Parker

My name is Joshua Parker, and I am a Lifestyle Coach for the DPP (Diabetes Prevention Program) as well as a community herbalist working towards becoming a medical herbalist.

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