Herbal Errors: Mistakes to Avoid When Taking Herbal Supplements

May 21, 2020

Herbal Errors: Mistakes to Avoid When Taking Herbal Supplements

Have you ever purchased an herbal supplement and wondered “Is this actually doing anything?” Trust me, you’re not alone, and while there are a number of reasons your herbs might not be working well for you, how you take them plays a big role in efficacy. Let’s check out common mistakes to avoid when using herbal supplements to help you get the most out of these magical medicines!


Common mistakes to avoid


  • Taking with Caffeine-Taking herbal supplements with caffeine can reduce the effect your herbs have. Why, you ask? Caffeine is astringent, diuretic, and increases your metabolism. Taking herbs with caffeine like coffee or tea pushes the herb though your body more quickly, giving your body less time to absorb and assimilate it and thus reducing its effect on your organism. Better to use warm water, tea, or even juice depending on what effect you are going for! However- herbs CAN help reduce the negative effects of coffee. It’s up to you to decide which effect is more important (I vote herbs always ).


  • Wrong Timing- Did you know that when you take an herb has a big impact on its effectiveness? Timing your herbal medicines based on what action you want is REALLY helpful in boosting potency and efficacy. For example, it is much better to take a nootropic after eating instead of right before. Why? Taking herbs before food pushes the action downward in your body, while taking it after pushes the action upwards.  Sound crazy? It works for me, it works for my clients, and it has been done this way for over 5,000 years by those who practice Ayurveda. But hey, I also believe that human beings have limitless potential and can achieve anything if given the correct strategy, so I might already qualify as nuts.


  • Inconsistency- If you want a fit body you exercise regularly, right? You don’t just give up because you did sit ups once and didn’t get a 6 pack, lol. If you want to get the most out of your herbs, you need to commit to 90 days of taking them DAILY for them to work. Most people give up too soon, abandoning their supplements to the cupboard only to eventually throw them out. If you are consistent in your commitment, you will get consistency in your results. 90 days!


  • Poor Sourcing- Who you get your herbs from is CRITICAL and here is why. Many companies selling herbs couldn’t identify the plant they are selling if you poured it on their heads. That’s because these people aren’t trained as herbalists or healthcare practitioners and are in this for money, not to help you. A study done by the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph showed  product substitution occurred in 30/44 of the herbal supplement products tested and only 2/12 companies had products without any substitution, contamination or fillers. WTF?


Who can you trust? Health care practitioners, herbalists, and apothecaries are your best bet. There are many wonderful brands out there! Isn’t it worth spending a few more dollars to have something that works, supports a great company, and contains what the label says? I personally verify everything that we use at Siddha Labs because my training as an herbalist, Āyurvedic practitioner, and environmental scientist means I know what’s up. Can the company’s products sitting in your cabinet make the same claim? If not then it’s time to step up your herb game- I’ve got you!

So there you have it! You are well on your way to becoming a bona fide herbal supplements genius. Want to learn more about how to maximize the effect of your herbs? Be sure to subscribe to my email list on my home page at the bottom so you can get my free downloadable guide for Intelligent Imbibing for Herbal Excellence coming soon! (can you tell I might have rewatched 1,2, or maybe all the Harry Potter movies this quarantine?!).

Copyright 2020 Sarah Otto-Combs

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