For Your Health: Stay Safe with Your Herbs

| July/August 2000

Dangerous herbs. Poor quality control. Toxic supplements.

If you read the newspaper or watch television, you’ll ­encounter these and similar phrases that have fueled understandable worry among many consumers.

At Helios Health Center, a holistic medical practice in Boulder, Colorado, several patients have told Robert Rountree, M.D., that they have stopped taking herbs because of negative news about supplements.

“They hear, ‘You can bleed to death if you take garlic,’ even if they feel fine,” Rountree says.

Seattle herbalist K. P. Khalsa’s patients have voiced similar concerns.

“My clients are really in limbo because they don’t know an authoritative source from another,” says Khalsa, board member of the American Herbalists Guild and author of Herbal Defense (Warner, 1997). For many people, even the family doctor may not be a good information source.

“Medical practitioners are begging us not to say [they are knowledgable about herbs] anymore because they don’t know anything,” Khalsa says.

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