Field Notes: Product Safety and Research

I’m the kind of person who thinks it’s important to know what is in the products you’re exposing your body to, and to be educated about all the potential effects they might have.

This goes not only for synthetic remedies, but natural ones as well.

DISCLAIMER: Before you use herbal preparations, consult a medical professional – and just as importantly, if you are seriously ill, please consult a medical professional.

I’ve studied plants and herbs but am not a naturopath, holistic medical practitioner, or medical professional of any kind.

The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, and you alone are responsible for the consequences of what you put in or on your body!

As the owner of this blog I am simply sharing information – and in no way assume any legal responsibility for remedies or preparations the readers may try, or their consequences.

While many herbs have been put through clinical trials to prove their efficacy, more still have yet to be studied properly.

The benefits I list of various herbs and plants are usually commonly accepted anecdotal knowledge of these plants – information that has either been passed on to me by those more experienced, or through repeated purported results I find online or in books.

Unless I specifically cite studies that have been done, this is usually what I’m referring to when I write about the properties of herbs on this blog,

While that may make you skeptical, there are a few important things to keep in mind…

  1.  All research requires funding. There may be less demand to study less expensive natural products that maye be competitive with conventional ones in quality. Reputable research remains extremely important when it comes to providing concrete evidence to back-up claims made about products and ingredients, natural and synthetic. While many herbs have proven effective in medical trials, far more have not – which means making definitive claims of their efficacy, positive or negative is not possible.
  2. Only you will be able to determine what works for you. What might work for someone else may not be effective for you – so there is a degree of personal trial and error involved in conventional and beauty products, and natural products are no different. For example, a face wash may clear up one person’s skin, but cause another’s to become dry and flaky, and cause yet another person to break out! So, just because a natural product doesn’t work for your skin or hair does not mean it may not be effective for someone else.
  3. Natural remedies have a time and place. Using a remedy that has not been studied to treat a serious illness in place of one that has been proven effective can be extremely dangerous. Likewise, if an ingredient (even a natural one) has not been extensively studied, it may have undocumented hazards or interactions. For example, there are plants that contain compounds that are highly poisonous – and others that become toxic in accumulations. Some things are perfectly safe to use on your skin, but may make you quite ill when ingested. Your health isn’t something to compromise – so be sure to always consult a trained medical professional.
  4.  Herbal knowledge survived for centuries. Long before pharmaceutical companies existed, people around the world used forests, valleys, deserts, and gardens as medicine cabinets. Much of this knowledge remains because it has been passed down through generations anecdotally. Additionally, the use of plants as medicine is a tradition that has been documented all over the world – with 80% of the world still using plant based medicine in modern times. You decide for yourself what that means – personally, I think it makes sense to reason that knowledge of medicinal properties of plants would not have survived for so long if it did not have value.

One of the main purposes of this blog is to inspire people to get curious about herbs, plants, and sustainable, natural products they can make themselves.

However, it is important to be smart about what you expose your body to – this means doing your own background research about all the ingredients you use, and their potential hazards.

This also means reading about plants and herbs from reliable resources, carefully assessing the benefits and risks they may have for you, learning how to properly use them, doing allergy tests, and of course, consulting professionals.

I’m not here to discourage people from getting to know plants, but as with anything else it is your responsibility and yours’ alone to be a smart and safe consumer!

Plants are an amazing resource have the potential to be quite powerful, and it’s your responsibility to use them safely and carefully.

I encourage you to take inspiration from the things I make and do here but (and I have to say this) at the end of the day, you must do so assuming your own risk and informed responsibility.

I also urge you to be as informed as possible – not only about natural products, but all the products you expose yourself to on a regular basis.

It can be overwhelming to look into each ingredient of everything you come in contact with, but if you use it every day, or even every week of your life, it’s worth being informed about!

So I leave you with this: learn as much as you can, and enjoy the process!

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