The therapeutic properties of herbs have been the most studied in the last 50 years. Since it was discovered that not all components had psychoactive effects, herb has been finding its place as a natural remedy to treat some important diseases, even when conventional drugs were not effective.
If you are a regular reader of our blog, you will remember the previous post about Refractory Epilepsy. In it we explained the case of Charlotte Figi, an American girl who was one of the youngest patients with refractory epilepsy who started taking herbs. She was only 5 years old. She was not the first, but she was the most mediatized thanks to the publicity that CNN did on her case.
Thanks in part to these testimonies and to medical research, in this past decade the process of legalization of the medical herb has had a spectacular advance. The WHO has authorized its use to treat some diseases and the manufacture and distribution of C capsules medicines has also been authorized in many countries of the world, both for adults and children.
Therapeutic properties of herbs
The numerous scientific studies that have been carried out have been able to demonstrate with more or less evidence the following therapeutic properties of herbs.
- Reduces seizures
- Reduce nausea and vomiting
- Helps reduce anxiety in cases of drug dependency
These properties have been shown to be effective in reducing or treating the symptoms of some major diseases.
- Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis)
- Anxiety and Depression
- Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder)
- Inflammatory diseases (Arthritis, Crohn’s)
- Reduced symptoms caused by chemotherapy
- Painful diseases such as Fibromyalgia or Osteoarthritis.
The relaxing properties of herbs are also effective against insomnia and improve the quality of sleep. They also help us to reduce the stress of our daily lives.
Possible side effects of Herbs
Although herb is a product of natural origin, since it is obtained from a plant, it can have some side effects in some people. In general, medical studies indicate that these are mild effects when taken in small doses and that they disappear when administration is stopped.
In cases of higher doses and when taken for long periods of time, there are still no comprehensive studies showing that it can have irreversible adverse effects.
Let’s see what doctors say about these side effects.
Side effects of herbs in ointments, oils or creams
There is no data to suggest that creams or any cosmetic products with herb cause side effects. Therefore, creams to treat our skin or ointments or oils with herbs have no side effects.
Side effects of oral herbs
By oral route we understand the oils with herbs in drops, capsules, in mop, gummies… In specially sensitive people the following mild symptoms can appear.
Drowsiness and dizziness. Herbs preparations do not have psychoactive effects since the possible traces are so small that we do not even notice them. The relaxing effect of herbs may cause some drowsiness or the feeling of being very tired in some cases. These reactions usually occur when the dose is higher than necessary according to the person’s weight or metabolism.
Is herb safe for children?
Being given to treat such important disorders in children as epilepsy or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). If you want to know more about these disorders and how herb helps them, you can find more information in the post Herbs and Autism: A Way to Hope and in How It Changed the Life of a 5 Year Old with Epilepsy.
There are no studies that show that the herb drug Epidiolex is not safe when taken by mouth every day. Children’s doses do not cause side effects, unless very high doses (15-20 mg/kg per day) have to be given, which would be likely to produce side effects. For your peace of mind, this medicine has been used in children up to 1 year of age.
Precautions before taking herb
According to the medical literature, only in the cases discussed below should precautions be taken when taking herb.
Liver failure: It is commented in these reviews that herbs in high doses and for a prolonged time could produce liver failure. There are not enough cases to be absolutely certain. It is recommended that people who already have liver failure should take lower doses than healthy patients.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Although herb is a safe product and no adverse effects on the development of the baby have been demonstrated, it is recommended that should not be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Products with herbs are not yet well regulated and do not pass quality control like drugs, unless they are drugs such as Sativex or Epidiolex. They could be contaminated with heavy metals or pesticides that would be harmful to the baby.
Parkinson’s disease -Some preliminary research suggests that taking high doses of herbs may worsen muscle movement and tremors in people with Parkinson’s disease.
Drug interactions Recent reviews suggest that herb has interactions with other drugs commonly used to treat some conditions, and may reduce or increase the effectiveness of those drugs.
Taking it as a relaxant to combat stress and help us sleep better is safe and has no side effects in principle. If these appear in a mild form, the best solution is to reduce the dose or suspend the intake. We recommend starting with small doses and increasing or decreasing them until we find the right dose for each person according to their weight and their metabolism.
In case of important diseases, our recommendation is always to consult a doctor. We have already seen that it can have interactions with some drugs, many of which cause undesirable effects if intake is not gradually stopped.