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Home Herb Safety Guide

Herb Safety Guide

Herb Safety Guide for Herbs, Spices and Extracts

The following guidelines are based on the American Herbal Products Association Botanical Safety Index. The purpose of the Index was to create meaningful safety classifications and labeling recommendations for botanicals.

The following safety data assumes the botanical will be used in a rational and informed manner. Illness or negative reactions can occur from excessive consumption, individual sensitivities and allergic reactions. Seek qualified expert advice before using a botanical with which you are unfamiliar.

Agar Agar: This herb should be ingested only with adequate liquid. Not for use by persons with bowel obstruction.
Alfalfa: Not recommended for use by persons taking blood thinning agents.
Aloes (Cape): Do not use if you have or develop diarrhea, loose stools or abdominal pain. Consult your physician if you have frequent diarrhea. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product
Angelica: Not to be used during pregnancy or by persons taking blood thinning agents. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Arnica (excludes homeopathics): For external use only. Can cause allergic dermatitis with extended use or in sensitive persons
Ashwagandha: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Barberry: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Bergamot, Wild: Not to be used during pregnancy
Black Cohosh: Not to be used during pregnancy or while nursing.
Black Walnut: Not recommended for long term use.
Bladderwrack: Not to be used during pregnancy or while nursing, or by persons with hyperthyroidism.
Blessed Thistle: Not to be used during pregnancy
Bloodroot: Not to be used during pregnancy
Blue Cohosh: Not to be used during pregnancy
Boldo: Not to be used by persons with gallstones, serious liver conditions or obstruction of the bile duct.
Borage: Not recommended for long term use. Not to be used during pregnancy or while nursing.
Broom Tops: Not for use by persons taking MAO inhibitors or with high blood pressure.
Buchu: Not to be used during pregnancy
Buckthorn: Do no use if you have or develop diarrhea, loose stools or abdominal pain. Consult your physician if you have frequent diarrhea. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.
Cascara Sagrada: Do not use if you have or develop diarrhea, loose stools or abdominal pain. Consult your physician if you have frequent diarrhea. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.
Catnip: Not to be used during pregnancy
Cayenne (capsules & extract only): Avoid contact with eyes or open wounds.
Chamomile, Roman: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Chaste Tree Berries: Not to be used during pregnancy
Coltsfoot: Use with caution. Avoid excessive or long term use. Not to be used during pregnancy or while nursing
Comfrey: For external use only. This herb should not be used on abraded skin and should not be used on unbroken skin for prolonged periods. Not to be used during pregnancy.
Cornflowers: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Cramp Bark: Not recommended for use by persons taking blood thinning agents.
Devil's Claw: Not recommended for use by persons with ulcers.
Dong Quai: Not to be used during pregnancy or by persons taking blood thinning agents.
Elecampane: Not to be used during pregnancy or while nursing.
Ephedra (Ma Huang): Warning: Seek advice from a health care practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you have high blood pressure, heart or thyroid disease, diabetes, difficulty in urination due to prostate enlargement or if taking an MAO inhibitor or any other prescription drug. Reduce or discontinue use if nervousness, tremor, sleeplessness, loss of appetite or nausea occur. Not intended for persons under 18 years of age. KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN.
Eucalyptus: Not to be used by persons with inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal and bile ducts and severe diseases of the liver.
False Unicorn: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Flax Seed: this herb should be ingested only with adequate liquid. Not for use by persons with bowel obstruction.
Garlic (capsules & extract only): Not to be used during pregnancy or while nursing
Gentian: Not to be used by persons with ulcers or when stomach irritation or inflammation is present.
Ginger (capsules only): Not to be used during pregnancy. Persons with gallstones should consult a health care practitioner before use.
Goldenrod: Persons with chronic kidney disorder should consult a health care practitioner before use.
Goldenseal Root: Use with caution. Avoid excessive or long term use. Not to be used during pregnancy.
Guar: This herb should be ingested only with adequate liquid. Not for use by persons with bowel obstruction.
Henna: For external use only.
Hop Flowers: Not recommended for use by persons suffering from depression.
Horehound: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Hydrangea: Use with caution. Avoid excessive or long term use.
Juniper Berries: Not to be used for more than six weeks in succession. persons with inflammatory kidney disease should not use this herb. Not to be used during pregnancy.
Lemongrass: not to be used during pregnancy.
Licorice: Not for prolonged use except under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner. Prolonged use may cause hypertension, edema, headache, vertigo and potassium depletion. Not for use by persons with hypertension, hypokalemia, edema, cirrhosis of the liver and cholestatic liver disorders, and diabetes. Not to be used during pregnancy.
Lobelia: May cause nausea and vomiting if ingested. Not to be used during pregnancy.
Lomatium (bulk herb): Not recommended for use by persons taking blood thinning agents.
Lovage: Not recommended for use by persons taking blood thinning agents or persons with impaired or inflamed kidneys.
Lycii Berries: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Mace: Caution: Large amounts of nutmeg or mace may cause dizziness, stomach pains, rapid pulse, nausea, anxiety, liver pain, double vision and coma.
Maidenhair Fern: Not to be used during pregnancy. Large doses may act as an emetic.
Mistletoe: Not for use by persons with protein hypersensitivity and chronic progressive infections such as tuberculosis and AIDS.
Motherwort: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Mugwort: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Mulberry Bark: For decorative use only.
Mulberry Twig: Not recommended for use by persons taking blood thinning agents.
Myrrh: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Nutmeg: Caution: Large amounts of nutmeg or mace may cause dizziness, stomach pains, rapid pulse, nausea, anxiety, liver pain, double vision and coma.
Oregon Grape: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Parsley Root: Not to be used during pregnancy or by persons with inflammatory kidney disease.
Periwinkle: Not for use by persons with low blood pressure or hypertension.
Pleurisy: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Prickly Ash Bark: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Psyllium Seed: this herb should be ingested only with adequate liquid. Not for use by persons wit bowel obstruction.
Quassia: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Queen of the Meadow: Use with caution. Avoid excessive or long term use. Not to be used during pregnancy or while nursing.
Red Clover: Not to be used during pregnancy or by persons taking blood thinning agents.
Rehmannia, Raw: Not for use by persons with diarrhea and lack of appetite.
Rhemannia, Steamed; Not for use by persons wit diarrhea and indigestion.
Rhubarb: Do not use if you have or develop diarrhea, loose stools or abdominal pain. Consult your physician if you have frequent diarrhea. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.
Rue: Not to be used during pregnancy or by persons taking blood thinning agents.
Safflower: Not to be used during pregnancy or by persons with hemorrhagic diseases or peptic ulcers. Ingestion of this herb may prolong blood coagulation time.
Sage (extract only): Use with caution. Avoid excessive or long term use. Not to be used during pregnancy.
Sandalwood, yellow: Not for use by persons with disease of the parenchyma of the kidney.
Sarsaparilla, Indian: Not recommended for use by persons taking blood thinning agents.
Sassafras Root: Use with caution. Avoid excessive or long term use.
Senna: Do not use if you have or develop diarrhea, loose stools or abdominal pain. Consult your physician if you have frequent diarrhea. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.
Sheep Sorrel: Not recommended for use by persons wit a history of kidney stones.
Shephard's Purse: Not to be used during pregnancy or by persons with a history of kidney stones.
Tansy: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Turmeric (extract only): Not to be used during pregnancy.
Uva ursi: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Vetiver: Not to be used during pregnancy.
White Oak: Avoid applications to extensively damaged skin.
Wild Cherry: Use with caution. Avoid excessive or long term use.
Wormwood: Use with caution. Avoid excessive or long term use. Not to be used during pregnancy.
Yarrow: Not to be used during pregnancy.
Yellowdock: Not recommended for use by persons with a history of kidney stones.