Side Effects are Uncommon
When taken in significant amounts, pharmaceuticals produce an effect in almost everyone. Sometimes these effects are desirable and sometimes not. The ones we don't want are termed side effects.
The situation is different with herbs. Studies show a very low incidence of side effects of herbal preparations. All of them are minor, and are largely restricted to loose stools and tiredness that disappears as soon as the herbs are discontinued. The vast majority of people and animals experience no problems whatsoever.
Furthermore, the same studies showed that side effects declined with time, as people got used to their herbs, or because they were actually from some other cause.
There's a good reason why plants are generally safer to take than drugs: there's not enough of any one compound in a plant to create any side effects. Plants can't afford to manufacture the hundreds of milligrams of a single compound needed to force a physiological response. The exceptions are toxins, which are illegal and not present in any Natural Path or Kan products.
Instead of a big hit from one ingredient, herbs work through synergistic interaction among several ingredients to address the way a problem arose. If that dynamic is in the patient, benefits will be seen, but otherwise not. An evaluation by a Chinese medical practitioner helps minimize any trial and error in finding a solution.
How to Tell if a Formula is Causing Problems
If a formula is not a good fit for a patient, it won't work. It can also aggravate the dynamic that is present, bringing to light latent tendencies that would otherwise remain in hiding.
To figure out if a formula is behind a symptom or problem:
- Reduce the dose of or stop taking the formula altogether
- See if the effect disappears over the ensuing 24 to 48 hours
- If it does, re-start at half the dose or less
- If the low dose causes no problems, gradually increase to the prescribed dose. The symptom likely had some other cause
- If the low dose is not well tolerated, discontinue the formula and contact the prescriber. A new formula is required
Handling Symptoms from Herb Use
Since herbs are not as concentrated as drugs, you have to be sensitive to a formula to react to it at all. Only animals or people uniquely vulnerable to a formula could experience some sort of aggravation from its use. The apparent side effects of a herbal formula thus tell us something about the person taking them.
Since symptoms from herb use are opportunities to learn about the recipient, that person or animal should be re-evaluated by the practitioner as soon as possible. A new Chinese medical diagnosis should now be able to be diagnosed, and a new formula prescribed.
If there were no significant benefits to its use, the previous formula should be discontinued. Otherwise, the old formula should dovetail with the new one, such that the adverse effects are now hindered at the same time that new benefits are created.