Did you know that you can be allergic to certain herbs?
Just like seasonal allergies from plant pollen can affect people by giving them itchy, watery eyes, a sore throat, cough, and hives, and food allergies can cause all sorts of problems from stomach cramps, to itching and hives, to full out anaphylactic shock, herbs can cause allergic reactions as well.
Small amounts. Large amounts. First-time use. Hundredth-time use.
These days, allergies are more common than they used to be, and if you’re going to use herbs, you need to make sure you’re using ones that agree with your body right away. Thankfully allergic reactions to herbs are usually mild.
So How Do You Know Whether You are Allergic to a Particular Herb?
First, you need to take your current allergies into consideration.
If you have allergies to ragweed (a common allergen), then chances are they may have allergic reactions to plants in the Asteraceae family, such as chamomile, calendula, and yarrow, to name a few. If you have latex allergies, then there’s a possibility that you will have reactions to plants that contain latex, such as milky oats, dandelion, or wild lettuce.
Next, you need to take your current lifestyle, diet, and health into account.
For example, if you recently started a new supplement or diet, the uncomfortable effects you may be experiencing might be due to a detox reaction rather than an herb you are taking. Also, if you’re feeling unwell or coming down with something, you will often find yourself experiencing similar side effects to mild herb reactions.
No matter, if you’re using a new herb for the first time or you think you may be allergic to a particular herb, there’s a way you can find out.
You can test yourself for allergic reactions.
Now before you go testing yourself for herbal allergic reactions using the steps below, it’s important to know that if you currently have a large number of allergies or have any allergies that are severe (ie, anaphylactic reactions), it’s best to test herbs for allergic reactions under the supervision of your doctor to play it safe.
How To Test Herbs For Allergic Reactions
- Begin by rubbing the fresh herb on the skin on the inside of the wrist and wait to see if a skin reaction occurs before testing the herb by ingesting it. If you only have access to dried herbs, soak them in a bit of warm water and rub the moistened herb on the skin first. If no reaction occurs, move on to step 2.
- Make a strong herbal infusion and drink 1 teaspoon. Wait 30 minutes.
- If no reaction occurs, drink 1 tablespoon. Wait another 30 minutes.
- If no reaction occurs then, drink 1/2 a cup.
- Wait again, then try 1 full cup.
If you don’t have any sort of reaction after following these steps, it’s very unlikely that you are allergic to the herb you’re testing. Most times, you can go ahead and use the herb. Remember to start small with the dose and work your way up anyway as that’s always a safe way to dose herbs.