It seems there is so much information on the herbs you should take but not too much information on those you should avoid. Not all of them are safe to use and some are just not worth experimenting with unless you have advice from an experienced herbalist. There are some that are only poisonous in large dosages but it’s better to have a professional give you advice on this. There are some that are deadly herbs no matter how much you take, and there are some that are acceptable to use externally but not internally. All in all, it’s less trouble to find a safer alternate herb to use. It’s the intention of this article to make those aware who use herbs to be cautious and not to take chances. Do your research and by that it is meant to use many sources.
Coltsfoot is one that is very questionable to use. The possible harm it may cause your liver outweighs the help it may be with respiratory problems. This was used for common things like colds and flu so you could easily substitute, ginger, Echinacea, or goldenseal. Ginger and goldenseal can be used at any time you have cold or flu symptoms but Echinacea has to be used at the onset of the cold or flu as an on/off herb. Otherwise, your body will get used to it, and it won’t work like it should.
Some of the ones that are deadly are from the same family like Belladonna and Foxglove which are in the Nightshade group. Not all Nightshade plants are deadly though, as the potato and eggplant are actually part of this family too.
Foxglove, you may have heard of as a gardeners flower, is probably one of the deadliest and most dangerous types of herb you could use. Even a small dose to a child is very deadly. This is a very good reason not to even grow it in your garden with small children in your household. Foxglove was used for Congestive Heart failure in the past but has been ruled as unsafe to use currently.
You may have seen products with Arnica in creams and ointments. It is a great alternative remedy for arthritis or muscle soreness. This can become a deadly herb if taken internally. You should not even use this around a cut or open wound. It is strictly for external use.
You might have heard of someone who drinks Barberry Tea or you may have tried it yourself. If you drink too much of this tea it will make you sick and may cause your blood pressure to drop rapidly. For the benefits that this herb has, there are much safer herbs with the same or more benefits. If you are using this for colds, sore throats or the flu, why not use ginger tea or Echinacea. They are much safer.
Celandine is a remedy you should never try. Its nick name is wart weed and can be used to get rid of warts but internally can be dangerous. Some herbalists use it as a remedy for gallstones.
Jimsonweed is also a deadly herb which has a spiny fruit. It should not be grown around young children. This herb was used to treat asthma. The historical story on this herb is that it is also named Jamestown weed which is because the settlers in Jamestown ate the leaves and were poisoned by it.
A good rule of thumb to remember when using herbs, in general, is that a large dosage of anything can do more harm than good. Another point to make is that many deadly herbs can be mistaken for herbs that are not. For instance, Coltsfoot resembles the dandelion and there are many herbs like this. Play it safe and use caution and educate yourself.