A holistic nurse’s view of herbals

Dr. Merrily Kuhn presented her views during the American Holistic Nurses Association Annual Conference.

Her comments reflect issues posted and discussed frequently on this site.

Words to live by…

  • Natural does not mean safe.
  • Be aware of products that make unrealistic claims and lack research proving their effectiveness.
  • Check with Consumerlab.com, the nonprofit organization that tests products for purity, strength, and absorbability.

Is it safe?

  • Take note of the source of the herb in the list of ingredients provided on the product’s packaging.
  • If possible, grow or buy organic products.
  • Wash herbs thoroughly before using.

Standardization vs whole herbs

  • Standardization aims to control the complete chemical composition of the extract, rather a specific constituent(s).
  • Some believe that standardization results in a more consistent product with increased potency.
  • Traditional herbalists believe that it’s the combination of all of these compounds that accounts for a plant’s effectiveness and safety — the whole herb has a greater healing potential than the single active agent.

Dr. Kuhn is president of Educational Services in Hamburg, New York and an associate professor at Daemen College in Amherst, New York.

More of her comments are posted at Medscape.

9/30/08 21:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.