Herbalism is an art as well as a science. It’s impossible to predict which herb will work best for everyone because we all have our own unique constitutions. 

Your success with using herbs can depend on a bunch of different things like; how long you’ve had the issue, the severity of the issue, the dosage you’re using, the quality of the herbs you’re taking, how you are taking it, and if you are being consistent in taking the herbs. 

Some herbs like bitters, work in as little as a minute. It might take 20 minutes when soaking in an herbal bath. Some herbs may take a couple of weeks. Other herbs may take months if you are using tonic herbs or working to resolve long-standing issues or chronic conditions. 

I know you’re thinking geez that’s not really helpful but that’s the truth of it. 

Plants aren’t drugs and don’t work the same way that pharmaceuticals do but they do work, just without the side effects. 

So how long does it take for herbs to work? Well, it depends. 

Some herbs are more powerful in their immediate effects than others. If you take an herbal tincture, usually you feel the effects right away.

Herbs are dose dependent which means you gotta take enough of the herbs for them to be therapeutically effective. So make sure you are taking the right dose. 

Many people take the right herbs but don’t get results because they aren’t taking enough. As, a guideline, start with the given dose and increase or decrease it according to how your body responds. But, more isn’t always better. See, it depends. And, it’s not necessarily linear.

  • Some people will feel the effects of the herbs right away. Maybe even as soon as they take it, within a ½ hour, or after the first dose.

For example, if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, you take some Valerian and go back to bed and drift right back into sleep.

  • Some people will feel something after 3 or 4 days. Maybe it’s a week or two. Could be after a month. There is no magic amount of time. Sometimes your body just needs a bit of time to acclimate to the herbs and what they do.

So, if it takes time for herbs to gradually work their magic inside your body over a month or six weeks time, the question is, will you even notice it? Well, here’s the rub, people are notoriously bad at noticing gradual things. But that doesn’t mean the herbs aren’t working and you haven’t benefited.

  • Some people will only notice the effects after they stop taking the herbs. 

Maybe you run out of herbs. Maybe you think they’re not doing anything so you stop. And then you notice a difference

For example, let’s say you’re taking Lion’s Mane. You take it every day for a month. But, you don’t notice anything. The effects are so subtle, you just don’t notice them. So you stop. But then you notice your brain isn’t working quite as well as it was before. This is your eureka moment, and realize it actually was doing something. 

  • Some people won’t feel anything at all or notice any benefits. 

But, just because you don’t notice anything doesn’t mean the herbs aren’t working. And, there is the possibility that the herb you are taking may not be the right herb for you. That same herb or formula may work great for other people, but not for you. 

Many times I don’t notice anything. Herbs are often subtle in the ways they work. I keep taking them anyway. And, some herbs are meant to be taken long term. 

If you begin to be more mindful of your body, you can increase your awareness of feeling the effects of the herbs you are taking. 

Be consistent. 

Try the herbs for at least 2 weeks. I would even say keep taking them for 3 months before you bail unless you know for sure they aren’t working. Take them regularly. Listen to your body. You really should start to notice improvements. 

Listen, you don’t just brush your teeth once and expect them to stay clean. You brush them every day. You don’t do 1 pushup and expect to get stronger. No. You do lots of push-ups over time and then see the results. 

For me, I usually know intuitively when it’s time to stop taking or switch herbs. One of the clues for me is that I start forgetting to take it. That only works if you are consistently taking it in the first place though. 

When we start really listening to the signals the body is ALWAYS giving us, we can better figure out if what we are doing is actually helping in the way we want it to. 

I often wonder if the mystery of how herbs work, is beyond the comprehension of the mind. I’m not saying it’s not possible to understand how herbs work, I’m just not sure we can figure it out with our minds alone. I personally don’t need studies or proof, although those things are certainly helpful. I just have a knowing and trust in the healing power of herbs.

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