Natural Means Safe?

By: Kestra Imani

A movement towards natural remedies, holistic healing, naturopathy, etc. has been growing over recent years. However, an important point has been missed through all the hoopla. Natural is not always "better."

Many vendors sell all manner of herbs and oils, some of which can be used for medicinal purposes. So, if you wish to purchase herbs for their magickal properties, to use to burn, to put in a poppet, to make a sachet, to put in a ritual bath, or sprinkle to cleanse your space, have a marvelous time doing it. Herbs and oils can definitely be used for these purposes without much fear of harming yourself or others. Of course, you should be careful that anyone sensitive to smoke is out of the way before you burn any herb or oil, and check for allergies, but under most circumstances you're going to be fine.

On the other hand, if you choose to use herbs or oils in ANY medicinal manner, for example, putting oils into a lotion or cream, making a tincture or tea, or otherwise using the herbs or oils inside or outside of your body, you'd better know what you're doing. Not all plants are harmless. Remember, hemlock is natural. Poison ivy is natural. Some of the herbs and oils that are commonly sold CAN kill you.

If you decide to use any herbs or oils, inside or outside of your body, you are on your own. There is a reason some vendors don't tell you what herbs are used for what purpose. They do not wish to be found responsible for anything that happens, good or bad, from your internal or external use of products. As you can tell from ridiculous lawsuits that are filed when people do things they shouldn't do and then get hurt, many innocent vendors or product manufacturers find themselves out of business because they have to pay millions of dollars to nincompoops who should have known better.

Just as you would not walk into a pharmacy, buy a few random bottles of prescription medication, and take them without knowing what they are, the same precautions should be taken with herbs. Just because they are not regulated by the State, as prescription drugs are, does NOT mean they are safe.

We are not saying "don't buy herbs or oils." That isn't the point at all. The point is, know what you are doing. Know what you wish to achieve. Know the actions, interactions, effects, chemical breakdowns, dosage information, etc. of the component you wish to use.

If you are really interested in therapeutic uses of herbs, there are many wonderful resources out there that you can learn from. Merely going through Google and looking up the herb name is definitely not enough. Take the time to study, or go to a certified herbologist for help. However, even a Master Herbalist is not allowed to diagnose medical conditions or to prescribe herbs or other substances for your use. Those activities are restricted to licensed physicians.

Be sure of what you are looking for BEFORE you buy. Just remember - be careful out there.

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Kestra is a Wiccan Priestess, Master Herbalist, and Reiki Master, offering the best in practical information, unique and useful altar tools and ritual supplies at an online shop called Enchanted Works. Guaranteed not to be your "same ole" Wiccan shop

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