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Herbs for Protection: Why They Don't Work


Article edited for scientific accuracy by Illuminate Labs Blog Editor Taylor Graber MD

The idea that certain herbs can be effective for general protection is an ancient spiritual folklore which isn’t provable and doesn’t work. We believe it’s important to debunk popular pseudoscience (as we recently did with our nutrition response testing article), so that health conscious consumers don’t waste their money or time.

In this article we’ll explain which herbs are traditionally used for protection, why they won’t work, and what some better alternatives are.

Herbs are Used for Protection?

Humans are subject to making emotional decisions rather than rational ones, especially when it comes to feelings like safety and protection.

For thousands of years, herbal folklore of various disciplines has suggested that specific herbs can foster a sense of protection. This protection usually is suggested to exist in a spiritual rather than a physical sense.

Just last year, major health publisher Well & Good featured a “green witch” in an article on herbal rituals. She said that herbs like lavender could be incorporated into “mystical self-care practices.”

Sage is another herb which is often considered to remove negative energy in an indoor dwelling when burned.

There exist hundreds of other magical remedies of herbs for protection online, some suggesting inhalation via vapor, some suggesting cultivation in a garden and some suggesting supplementation.

What you’ll notice is that all of these solutions are vague and there is no standard practice, because this is a spiritual rather than scientific approach. 

We respect cultural and religious practices, and we believe deeply in the ability of scientifically proven herbal remedies like red ginseng to often be superior to pharmaceutical options, but we can't recommend treatments with absolutely no basis in any science at all like using herbs for protection.

Why it Won’t Work

For an herbal remedy to be effective for a given purpose, there must be published evidence testing it and finding the results to be successful.

There are no tests suggesting that herbs can be effective for general protection, and therefore there is no reason to believe they are. It doesn’t matter what an herbalist or “green witch” suggests, you shouldn’t waste your money on products that have zero proof behind them.

Certain folklore solutions have actually been tested in medical research and proven to be effective, such as ceylon cinnamon extract being effective for metabolic disorders, but that is not the case with any herbs suggested to help with protection.

Better Alternatives

For people worried about protection because of heightened anxiety, we recommend therapy. Often a paranoid fear can creep into a patient’s mind in times of high stress or change, and therapy with a licensed provider is a safe, effective treatment modality which is often covered by medical insurance.

It’s important to be honest with yourself and ask yourself if your worries about “protection” stem from mental health issues. It may be useful to bring these concerns up with your doctor and consider medical treatment if this is an ongoing issue.

Conclusion

There is no evidence that any herbs help with protection. Many unlicensed medical professionals online suggest there are, and they should be ignored. Only treatments with scientific proof can be considered to work.g

We recommend considering medical interventions for people who feel a strong need for “protection” in a general sense, as this might lead to more productive solutions.

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