The Definitive Guide To Herbal Medicines: Types, Benefits, And Safety Tips

Updated on February 8, 2023

People worldwide have been using herbal medicine to treat or prevent their ailments for a long time. Even though there’s the development of modern medicine, the need for herbal medicine is still on the rise. 

It typically involves the application of therapeutic care using plants derived from leaves, roots, seeds, or flowers. The safest ones have been tested in the labs and used as supplements to other medications. You can take these herbal supplements in various ways, such as taking them as beverages, applying them on your skin, and ingesting them as powders or pills. 

Before you use them, you have to know which ones are prescribed, their advantages, and the safety precautions tips to undertake with herbal medicine. With that in mind, below is a definitive guide to herbal medicine. 

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Types Of Herbal Medicine  

Herbal medicine comes in different varieties, each with helpful characteristics and possible side effects on the body. Below are examples of the types of herbal medicine: 

  • Echinacea:  It’s used to avoid flu, lightheadedness, or colds. However, if you use it for a long time, you could experience stomach aches or feel like vomiting. 
  • Ginkgo biloba: It can be prescribed if you experience anxiety, dizziness, poor memory, or inadequate blood circulation. But you can have skin reactions, unwanted bleeding, migraines, constipation, or stomach aches. 
  • Black cohosh: It can assist in relieving your spasms and menopause signs. However, you can experience migraines, spotting, and an increase in weight.  
  • Turmeric: It can assist with gastric problems or issues with your bones. But you may have stomach aches, or your liver could get hurt.  
  • Ginger: It can help with nausea after undergoing chemotherapy, stomach aches, or menstrual cramps. However, you can experience acid reflux, irritations in your throat, or stomach upsets.  
  • Aloe vera: It can help with gastric issues, scabies, boils, or acne. You can experience stings or eczema if you apply them to your skin. If you take the pills, you can have spasms. If you take the content from the leaves without filtering, you could get hepatitis. 
  • Garlic: It’s prescribed if you have high cholesterol in your body. However, side effects are hemorrhage and reaction with some of your medications, like drugs used to medicate Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or anticoagulants.  
  • Hawthorn: It’s used for medicating heart attacks, angina, and high blood pressure. 
  • Valerian:  It can help you with menopausal signs or sleep disorders. On the other hand, you can get heart problems, stomach aches, or lightheadedness.  
  • Ginseng: It helps boost your overall health and energy levels. It also assists if you have a low sexual function and also believes in helping with infertility. The side effects include dysentery, chest or breast distress, blood flow from the vagina, and insomnia.  
  • St John’s wort: It’s usually prescribed for uneasiness or depression. However, you could experience difficulty sleeping, constipation, dry mouth, and sensitivity to light. 
  • Peppermint oil: You can take this if you have stomach upset, migraines, or irritable bowel syndrome. You could experience skin itches if you apply it. You could also have acid reflux and stomach pains.   
  • Chamomile: It’s used to help in relieving diarrhea, stomach aches, anxiety, or lumps. It’s used as a beverage drink. However, it would help if you didn’t take it with other medications; it could cause skin discomfort. 

Most of these herbal medicines are the common ones in the market. Although herbal medications are considered natural, some are manufactured in high doses or laced with other harmful substances. So, it would help if you bought them from reliable stores such as Blue Poppy Herbal Medicine or other similar ones that are approved to sell their products in the market. These are often tested and have friendly ingredients.   

Benefits Of Herbal Medicine  

Herbal medications are beneficial because they act as supplements to help cure or prevent most illnesses. It can also assist you in avoiding surgeries and taking antibiotics. Besides these, herbal medicine is advantageous in the following ways:  

  1. They Boost Your General Health  

Herbal medicines can boost your general health in various ways. For instance, it has vitamins, antibodies, and other essential elements that help boost the immunity system. Thus, herbal medication can assist in curing and boosting your health to stay strong against diseases. They’re also helpful because they can’t introduce toxins into your body.    

  1. They Have Less Side Effects  

In modern medicine, prescribed medication uses potent products, which could lead to long-term side effects like convulsion, liver failure, or rapid heartbeats, even when taken at the right dose. On the other hand, herbal supplements have fewer side effects.   

With herbal medicine, if you take the right dose, you won’t experience many side effects. Moreover, most of the side effects are manageable at home even if you stop taking the supplement. 

  1. They’re Affordable And Easily Accessible  

Prescribed medication can be costly, and, in some cases, the quantity available is limited. If people don’t have enough money or insurance to pay for them, they tend to skip medication or opt for a generic one which could derail their health. In such cases, it’s best to consult your doctor for advice on better alternatives.   

On the same note, herbal medications are readily available, and you can find them from a licensed herbalist. Take your time with the search until you find the right vendor. 

  1. They Can Assist In Self Healing 

With herbal medication, your body can heal the underlying problems instead of the symptoms like prescription drugs. You can speak to a herbalist who’ll pay attention to what could be causing the side effects you’re experiencing. Then, they’ll suggest a herbal medication you can try out.  

Herbal medications are advantageous for your health in various ways. So, ensure you take the helpful ones for your underlying symptoms. 

Herbal Medicine Safety Tips  

Even though herbal medicine is considered safe, there are still precautions to undertake when using it. They have side effects similar to other medications. With that in mind, below are safety tips to assist you when using herbal medications:  

  1. Speak To The Doctor Before Taking Herbal Medicine 

You may be tempted to go to the local store and buy your herbal medicine based on your friends’ interaction with them. But this shouldn’t be the case. Your doctor is better suited to suggest a herbal medication that can work effectively for you. They can prescribe them based on your age, current underlying illness, or condition you may have.   

Some of them are potently designed, and if you take them without consulting your physician, you may have side effects. That said, the following categories are not advised to take herbal medicine:  

  • Pregnant women 
  • Breastfeeding  
  • Below age 18 or above 65  
  • Will undergo surgery  
  • Taking other prescription or over-the-counter medications 

Otherwise, speaking to your doctor is best if you fall under the said categories.   

  1. Check Out For Side Effects  

Side effects are common with any type of medication. However, some are very serious and could be fatal if left unsolved. Thus, look for side effects such as migraines, stomach aches, lumps, lightheadedness, allergies, or respiratory distress. Moreover, seek your doctor’s advice immediately to know which alternatives will work better for you.   

  1. Go For Quality Products  

Herbal medicine sold on the streets is of low quality and has not been tested or proven safe for use. So, only licensed herbalists are authorized to sell tested samples when buying herbal medicine. They also have experience and won’t prescribe something that’ll react negatively to your body. Furthermore, you should check the manufacturer to check if they’re legitimate. Their product label should be simple to read and provide an address where they’re located.   

  1. Read The Label Instructions  

The description of herbal bottles includes all the ingredients and dosages. So, before you buy the supplements, check to see if the inside contents suit your body. You could also check for the expiry dates located on the label. 

  1. Don’t Mix Them With Other Medications  

Herbal medicines can be so potent when used in high quantities. Thus, mixing them with other medications can cause effects such as high blood pressure, heart attack, or allergies. If taking blood thinners, birth control medications, antidepressants, cancer medications, heart drugs, or diabetes medications for any chronic illness, speak to your doctor before you can supplement them with herbal medicine. 

  1. Take Only The Prescribed Dosage  

You should only take the prescribed dosage, even if your symptoms are still present after taking your prescribed medication. Overdosing could lead to high blood pressure, which could be fatal. If you don’t feel any changes since you’ve started taking them, it’s wise to stop immediately instead of taking more to feel their effects. 

Undertaking precautions enable you to improve your well-being while avoiding adverse effects that could affect you when using herbal medicines. 


Herbal medicine is supplementary medications made from natural substances that are good for your health. It comes in numerous different types with all the advantages your body can gain. However, like any other type of medication, there are safety precautions you must take with herbal medicine. Thus, speak to your doctor before you start taking them. Then, purchase them from trustworthy vendors. 

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