One of the risks of self-medication with herbal medicines and herbal supplements is that they have not all been thoroughly tested. Some herbs or combination of herbs can actually be very harmful i.e. toxic. Before using a certain recipe it’s advised to first do a thorough check, for instance, with a certified herbalist or on trustworthy websites.
Moreover, even if a herbal formula or supplement is considered safe and tested, it doesn’t mean that you will react on it positively. It may be that you in particular are sensitive or allergic for certain herbs or combination of herbs. It’s therefore also advised to take this into account and start a treatment with a small dose to see if your body and mind can handle it.
Another risk today, is contamination of herbal products and nutritional supplements with for instance foreign plant or animal material, drugs, heavy metals, and pesticides, to name a few examples, which can cause asthma or allergic reactions or even organ damage. A thorough background-check on the origins of the herbs you want to purchase (or pick yourself) is not a luxury.
Nevertheless, competent herbal healers (i.e. herbalists) will be alert on the precautions mentioned above, and moreover, they will always be open to apply (or advise) other traditional healing practices, such as massage, energy work, and spiritual work, among other methods, tools and techniques.
We also need to realize that, although often containing the same active ingredients as modern over-the-counter medicines, herbal applications may take some time to become effective because they work on and through the whole body rather than on specific symptoms.
And last but not least, using herbs for Self-Care and Self-Healing implies knowledge of herbs, that is, which herbs work for (or against) what, how much to use, in what doses, how long to use them, in what form to apply them, and so on. It also implies that you know what you want to treat, which means that you need diagnostic skills. Don’t take this too lightly and always perform proper research before engaging in herbal treatment practices.