Herbal remedies are all the rage, judging from the overwhelming number of choices available from even your local Wally World. I'm all for trying alternative remedies, but before you start loading up your shopping cart, take note of the herbs on this list. Just because it's labeled "herbal" doesn't mean it's safe.
1. Black Cohosh – That's right, the one many women use to ease PMS and menopausal symptoms. It's easy to overdose, making you dizzy and nauseous. And if you're pregnant? Stay away from it.
2. Buttercup – This innocent-looking yellow flower should be administered only by a professional. The sap of the fresh plant can cause blisters and sores on bare skin.
3. Foxglove – The medicine made from this plant is used to treat heart attacks. But if a healthy person ingests it, foxglove can cause one.
4. Goat's Rue – Once considered useful for nursing mothers and diabetics, it is now known to cause poisoning and death in farm animals and possibly humans.
5. Hedge Garlic – Most often used to treat rheumatism and asthma, it's not overly poisonous but can cause skin irritation.
6. Hedge Hyssop – Used to help smokers quit, in extremely small doses. It is very easy to overdose and become ill.
7. Holly – The berries of this sacred plant can kill small children. Only a very few varieties are relatively safe to handle, but you need to consult an expert before attempting it.
8. Jimson Weed – This ubiquitous weed has narcotic properties and should only be taken in extremely small doses in a respiratory emergency. Don't try this without the strict guidance of a professional.
9. Lily of the Valley – Like many herbs used to treat heart ailments, what makes this plant useful also makes it very dangerous. As with digitalis, it can harm a healthy heart. Unless you're under strict supervision by a medical professional, leave this herb alone.
10. Mistletoe – Like holly, the berries of this sacred plant can kill small children. It should never be taken internally.
11. Mulberry – The unripe berries are said to cause hallucinations.
12. Ragwort – Considered a protective amulet against spells and charms, it contains alkaloids that can poison livestock.
13. Yew – Yet another sacred plant, all parts are considered poisonous except the fleshy seed covering. But why risk it?
Source: Llewellyn's 2002 Herbal Almanac