Whether prescribed by your doctor, bought over the counter at your favorite store, out of a jar from an herb shop or found on the internet, here are a few things to keep in mind before taking that next dose:
Why are you taking it? It sounds silly, but some times people take things and they aren’t sure why. Maybe a loved one said they “should” or someone on tv suggested trying this or that. Sometimes we’ve been taking things so long we forgot why we started taking it in the first place! Take time to truly understand why or if what you’re taking is necessary.
Since I brought it up, how long have you been taking it? The only thing harder than developing a habit is breaking one. I admit I used to be guilty of organizing all the random shaped and rainbow colors of pills: green ones and squares in the morning, white ovals and orange ones before a meal, blue ones with water, pink circles after dinner but not before bed, the soft blue one is before bed, but not before the horse pill with anything but juice. or was that the other one? SOUND FAMILIAR? Pretty soon we have no idea why we started taking anything in the first place or whether you’re taking something because of what the other ones are doing. But we already bought 5lbs worth or a six month supply or had a coupon for a case. If you’ve been taking something for longer than 3-4 months, I recommend talking with your health provider about why and what other things you could be doing naturally or with your diet to support your wellness.
How much are you taking? Everything has a level for which it is efficient or effective. Let’s take something like a banana for example — if the banana is overripe it may not settle well in our body or taste very well, but if we eat it before it is ripe it may not settle well in our body or taste very well. Where is the balance? For the optimal nutrients, when the banana is ripe. Does that mean that it isn’t good for you when it is over or under ripen? Not necessarily, but it definitely has a window of when it is more optimal. So though you may prefer to double or cut your dosage, or adjust the frequency of which you are taking things, there is a level at which it is beneficial for you. Having too much or not enough of something in your body isn’t balanced and doesn’t help you become well.
Where does it come from? I feel this is an important question we don’t ask enough. Are the herbs ethically harvested and sustainable? Is it a natural source of vitamins or nutrients? Is it manufactured or processed in accordance with local laws and guidance? High price does not equal high quality, and low cost does not equal low quality. Being mindful of the quality, manufacturing, and distribution of the products you ingest regularly is a good habit to create so that you have a better idea of what is going on and in your body and where adjustments can be made.
My incredible Herbalism Educator JoAnn Sanchez always emphasized a very simply and powerful phrase to remember: “the details are in the dose.” Meaning, anything can be helpful or hurtful if not taken within balance. Habits are hard to make and harder to break, but it is important to be safe and informed.
If you’re interested in developing a personal wellness plan to incorporate with your existing health care, connect with The Herbalista.
The Herbalista is a Wellness Educator, Certified Western Herbalist specializing in plant medicine of the southwest, fitness, yoga, sexual health, digestive support and stress management. Please consult with your wellness provider before making any changes to your current health plan.