Phytotherapy: good advice for self-medication

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Is there a risk in using herbal medicines? self-medication ?

” Any active substance can cause side effects. But these are less with plants than with drugs. Thus, the meadowsweet has the same anti-inflammatory effects as aspirin, because it contains active ingredients at the origin of this drug. But, thanks to its tannins, it does not risk causingstomach ulcers. In occasional use, many plants can be used on their own: blackcurrant, ash, birch, nettle … On the other hand, we must be wary of some, with more delicate handling, such as St. John’s Wort. This antidepressant is well tolerated but decreases the effectiveness of anticoagulants or contraceptive pills. Caution is therefore required, especially in cases of thyroid disorders (avoid wrack) andrenal failure (no diuretic plants). Better to consult a phytotherapist or seek advice from your pharmacist.”


Can we take a long-term herbal medicine treatment?

” Apart from a few exceptions, like the red vine (against heavy legs), it is necessary, as a precautionary principle, to avoid any prolonged treatment with the same plant. The ideal is to observe a therapeutic break of approximately the same duration as that of the treatment. Otherwise, horse chestnut, for example, loses its effectiveness against hemorrhoids. ”

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How to choose the right medicinal plants?

” The best is to buy them in pharmacies or herbalists. Those sold in supermarkets or on the internet do not necessarily comply with the pharmacopoeia. Their concentration of active ingredients is not always sufficient. The most common species can be cultivated or harvested in the wild, provided they do not make recognition errors. The organic label is not essential, except for essential oils which, otherwise, concentrate pesticides. ”



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