One of my favorites websites I like to refer people to, when they ask where they can get reliable information on herbs is

I love this site because you get current, scientific-based, clinical studies on herbs and their use. The herbal monographs are priceless. The photographs of the herbs are beautiful. Popular, “hot” herbs with their information can be viewed.

I looked up the herbal profile for elderberry.It was listed as European Elder Berry. In this profile, I found the clinical overview, with the Latin and family names. In this case, Sambucus nigra is elderberry’s Latin name, and it belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family. The overview follows, giving the history of the berry and its historical use. The primary  and other potential uses are next, and list the common symptoms which call for elderberry-flu, colds, and fever (it produces sweating in this condition). The other potential uses section lists it as a diuretic. Then there’s the pharmacological actions, dosage and administration, crude and standardized preparations sections. My favorite sections are the contraindications, adverse effects, and clinical review. I advocate responsible herbal use under the supervision of an appropriate holistic practitioner or health care professional.

I have a healthy respect for herbs and their use, having worked the retail side of the natural healing industry. I also respect modern medicine. A lot of our medicines find their foundations in herbs, such as Digitalis (made from foxglove, a naturally poisonous plant, but yields medicinal properties). Because of this understanding of herbs, I do not take herbs without regard to how it affects my body and mind. I tell my physician when I take herbs-or anything else for that matter. If I decide to use an herb or herbal combination, I check it out-thoroughly-before using it. It is a must to understand how herbs operate inside you, especially if medical condition(s) exist that warrant prescriptions.

How many times I’ve told individuals to let their doctor know what they’re thinking about doing, I could not tell you. Sooner or later, they run into a problem with the medication the physician has prescribed for them, because he or she does not know about their patient’s herbal use. Unknown herbal use becomes a serious matter when surgery is considered for your condition. The attitude that it doesn’t hurt, won’t hurt, not to tell the health care professionals has its natural consequences.

 I am glad that alternative and complementary medicine is now in the mainstream. I am happy to see people (maybe not the majority, but most), are proactive about their health matters. Sites like herbalgram make it easy to take care of yourself.Image