Herbal medicine has been around for thousands of years.
It was one of the dominant forms of medicine before pharmaceuticals.
Now, it’s making a comeback.
Walk into any drugstore and you’ll find shelves filled with herbal remedies.
You’ll find bottled herbs in grocery stores.
Herbs are what help keep health food stores in business.
You will find countless herbal remedies online as well. More than you could possibly take in several lifetimes.
But what’s lacking is good information on how to take them. Especially difficult to track down is information on how long to take them.
I had to search long and hard to come up with an answer, which confirmed my suspicion that herbs aren’t meant to be taken indefinitely, without a break.
This was something I noticed myself. After a few days the good effects would often wear off.
Remedies that ushered in a sense of calm when I first took them made me jittery after a few days.
What was going on?
Was it something unique to me?
Am I overly sensitive to herbs?
Was it my imagination?
I don’t think so.
Because, apparently, herbal remedies are not meant to be taken non stop.
I discovered this after an exhausting search, which I embarked upon because I wondered why I often reacted to herbs.
I wish this information was readily available. Because herbal remedies are real medicine.
They’re sold over the counter, with one-size-fits-all instructions and virtually no information on when to stop taking them.
I do need to stress that I’m not a doctor or a healthcare professional. Just someone who prefers natural medicine whenever possible.
Any medical questions bring to your doctor’s attention, and don’t make medical decisions based upon what you’ve read here.
If you take medication, definitely check with your doctor or a pharmacist before adding an herbal remedy to the mix.
People with chronic health conditions should do the same.
Should You Take A Break From Herbal Supplements?
Part of the problem lies in the fact that it’s hard to find a good herbalist. Someone who understands you and who treats you as an individual.
Not all herbs work for everyone.
The trick is finding what best suits your body type. And then taking the remedy only long enough for it to do its job.
A professional can help guide you.
I have not yet found a good herbalist to work with. So it’s been largely do it yourself.
Herbal remedies do seem to help keep my chronic inflammation and nerve pain at bay. But I can’t take them every day.
Nor should I, according to a post I found on Chinese Herbs Direct, which sells herbal formulas. I thought it was one of the best and most direct posts on this topic.
It’s actually one of the few online articles I could find that directly address the question of how long should you take herbal remedies.
The information in this post is under the heading, “What dosage is appropriate?”
The post confirmed another of my suspicions as well. I’ve never been able to take the full dose as recommended on the bottle.
That’s because dosages are calculated based upon the weight of adult males weighing between 150 to 200 pounds.
I weigh less and I’m a woman. Also, I seem more sensitive than the average person to both herbal and homeopathic remedies.
A good herbalist would recognize this and adjust accordingly. But these practitioners are so hard to find.
How Long Should You Take Herbs?
Anyway, you will find different opinions from different herbalists.
But some standard advice is to start slowly, at a lowered dose. Then work up to a full dose. (Whatever that is for you, depending upon your size and constitution. I’ve found that if a bottle says take two capsules a day, then one is the right amount for me.
The article on the Chinese Herbs Direct site says, “If you’re taking an herbal formula for the first time, you may want to start out at a reduced dosage to make sure your body and digestive system tolerate the herb satisfactorily, then increase the dosage to reach the desired effects.”
Finally, I was able to find the information I sought on this site. It explained that “many herbalists” recommend frequent breaks. Chinese Herbs Direct suggested skipping a dose every fourth day, and taking a week long break every fourth week.
Interestingly, my body seems to tell me that I need a break about every four days.
Otherwise, I get jittery and may experience insomnia. Even with herbs believed to contain natural tranquilizers.
I found another good article on herbal dosages from John Douillard’s LifeSpa site. It confirmed yet another thing I’ve noticed.
Oftentimes, when taking a remedy I start out strong. I tend to crave the remedy and always remember to take it.
However, after a week or two I start to “forget” to take it.
Apparently, though, this appears to be a good thing, according to Douillard, who explains, “I find that when I am done with an herb I start to forget to take it. When I am getting benefits from the herbs I don’t forget to take it – in fact, I look forward to the next dose!”
I was so glad to read this because it confirmed what I had long suspected. Our bodies can also tell us when we need to quit an herbal remedy.
Anyway, you can read John Douillard’s 10 Essential Tips for Herbs To Work by clicking on the link.
For More Reading
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Pregnant women should not take herbal remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare provider.