Herbs throughout history have been associated with legends, folklore and mythology, and more recently with medicinal and culinary uses. But you can’t always believe everything you hear!
The following is a list of 15 debunked myths about different herbs, which were believed by our ancestors around the world, with some people still thinking they are true today. The first five are debunked myths about specific herbs and the final 10 are debunked generalised misconceptions.
Rosemary and thyme can lend a hand in love
If placed under a pillow, Rosemary will allow a single lady to dream of their future husband. Alternatively, to become irresistible to all, a lady should wear a sprig of Thyme in her hair.
Ginger is a magician’s best friend
Believed to be a superior herb for use in magic, Ginger promotes stimulation and attracts money, love and success.
If a magician were to eat the ginger before performing their show, it would assist in increasing the magician’s energy and strengthening the magic.
Lavender can be used as a marital aid
Lavender is another herb of love, which when placed under a lover’s pillow is said to encourage romantic thoughts.
For those who are married, placing a sprig of lavender under the mattress is believed to ensure the marital passion and reduced arguments.
Oregano is a gift to make man’s life happier
Created and gifted from Aphrodite, Oregano was intended to make man’s life happier. Therefore when used in wedding ceremonies it will provide joy, and when used in funerals it will convey peace to the dead.
Chamomile tea triggers hayfever allergies
As many people are allergic to herbs in the daisy family, anyone who suffers from hayfever should not drink chamomile tea to avoid an allergic reaction.
This can be the case on very rare occasions, otherwise, the allergy is created by inhaling the pollen, not drinking the brewed leaves and flowers.
Fertility herbs are just like fertility drugs
Both are believed to work in the same way, having the same effects on the body and similar time scales for effectiveness.
However this is not the case; Fertility drugs are taken for short periods of time in order to create a specific reaction from the body, such as causing the female body to ovulate. As the hormones are being manipulated this can have some wacky side-effects, including extreme emotions.
Fertility herbs instead support the natural process and health of the body, or organ system, in order to allow the body to function correctly and efficiently as naturally designed.
Herbs must be taken weeks or months before they will work
Many assume herbs will only work when used in large quantities, for long periods of time. All herbs work differently and depend upon what it is they are being used to treat.
For chronic conditions, this may be necessary, but in the most common cases even taking one dose of the recommended herb can have significant results or even immediate relief.
Herbs are always best used fresh, not dry
All extracts made from fresh, undried herbs are believed more potent than extracts made from dried herbs.
This can be a dangerous misconception, as certain herbs when used fresh are toxic and cause harm to the body. These types of herbs can require being dried and aged for extended periods of time before they are safe for use.
Ultimately, some herbs are best when used dry, some are best when used fresh, and for others, it doesn’t make a difference.
Any herb will only treat one particular ailment
Each herb, no matter what, will only help to treat one particular disease and nothing else.
It was once thought saw palmettos could only be taken by men as it was used for prostate health but has since been found beneficial for women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Herbs contain many different active chemicals, allowing nearly all medicinal herbs to have multiple uses.
Herbs are a complete alternative to scientific medicine
Some think herbs have no association with scientific medicine and are a completely separate way to aid healing.
When actually herbs have assisted in the advancement of scientific medicine, with some prescriptions being made almost entirely from herbs.
Medicinal herbs are not effective and are not as good as prescription medication
Similar to the above myth, those that believe herbs and prescriptions are separate methods of medication, also believe herbs have no medical effect.
However, herbs have been used for centuries all around the world for medical purposes with great success, and when administered correctly can have many medical benefits.
All herbs are fine to consume with all other medications
As herbal remedies are just plant extracts, surely they are safe to use in addition to prescription medications?
This belief can be potentially dangerous as there are three ways in which the herbal and prescription medications can interact.
- Both medications used to treat the same condition can have an exaggerated effect, with either good or bad results.
- The two medications can have opposite effects and therefore prevent either from being an effective treatment.
- The herbal remedy may limit the absorption of prescription medication in the body.
The combination of the two types of medication could also cause alternative or increased side effects.
All herbs are safe for consumption, especially if sold locally and labelled ‘natural’
Although herbs themselves are natural, not all products that contain them are monitored or regulated.
Manufacturers of herbal supplements can, therefore, make claims that they do not necessarily have scientific evidence for, including if the product is completely ‘natural’ or not.
In certain forms herbs can also be unsafe, for example, peppermint although used to aid digestion as a herb, when in oil form can be toxic.
There are no side-effects from using any herbs
Herbs contain natural chemical properties which can be utilised for their healing qualities. These chemicals also come with potential risk, as some can cause harm to the body, especially when used incorrectly.
Herbs can be kept forever in any environment without perishing
As with any natural product, herbs have expiration dates and must be stored properly in order to preserve them. Most herbs will need to be kept in dry, mild temperatures, away from direct sunlight.
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