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Gateway Herbs: The Beginners Guide to Getting Started with Herbs

3 min read time Sep 17, 2020



With 16 years experience as a Master Herbalist, I feel confident in saying that most people never truly experience optimal health.


There are many reasons for this, but one reason is that many people’s first experience with herbs is usually not a positive one. As most of us know, when someone has a bad first experience, they don’t often go back for a second helping.


About 12 years ago I finally caught on to why this was the case:


The herbs people were picking for their first experience were usually herbs that needed to be used over a long period of time and the results occurred very slowly.


The herbs those people picked were doing exactly what they were supposed to do, but  they were not the best first choice for a beginner’s herbal experience (specifically if you want to see fast results).


Should Milk Thistle and Ginseng be first-time herbs?


Sometimes we simply have unrealistic expectations. Two great examples that are commonly used as first-time herbs are milk thistle and ginseng. Now, these are great herbs and do exactly what they are supposed to do, but the person going through a first time herbal experience may not “feel” any specific action right away from using these herbs.


You often don’t hear someone say when using milk thistle ...


“Wow I really feel my liver enzymes doing their job!”.


If you did hear someone say that it is safe to assume they have lost their mind.


There are other possibilities for why the actions are coming on slowly such as, not taking enough, or inconsistent usage.


Try one of these Gateway Herbs as your first


What I often do when helping someone have the best first-time experience using herbs is, suggesting that they use what I like to call gateway herbs. This choice will not only assure that person a positive first experience but, I often find that this positive experience will allow them to keep an open mind to try other types of herbs.


Here’s some Gateway herbs can give you a positive response in a fairly quick manner:



Even though I have said I am not a fan of standardized herbs, with gateway herbs, a balanced preparation of both a standardized and whole herb (or a highly concentrated full spectrum preparation) is the best way to go. The concentration of the active constituents (whether standardized or not) is just a simple way to assure that you are getting what you need from that herb.   


By using Gateway Herbs you will often

feel the Beginning Effects of Optimal Health


Beginning effects are very important as it keeps you feeling encouraged to continue down the path. Let’s face facts, no one wants to use something they don’t feel is working, especially with a new experience. Over time what you will find is that you begin to segway into the “slower working” herbs because now you have a better understanding of what you should and will feel.


The other reason for the segway is that because you are beginning to feel good, there is no longer an urgency with seeing a fast onset of results.


I hope this helps to clear up any frustration you may feel about herbs and what you are supposed to feel. I also hope to encourage you to get back on the proper path, try some gateway herbs and begin to experience great health.  Don’t allow a few bad choices in the past to destroy your future well-being.  


And as always, if you have questions or experiences, please leave a comment below.


About Michael StuchinerMike_herbalist_headshot_250.png


Michael Stuchiner is an experienced Master Herbalist, the Head of Education for Z Natural Foods, a teacher and an accomplished author.  With a 16-year specialization in medicinal herbs, Mike also has a vast knowledge in tonic and adaptogenic herbalism. Mike has enjoyed a 25-year career as an elite-level competitive powerlifter where he learned to heal his ‘mind and body’ as an avid user of herbal remedies.


As an “in-the-trenches” herbalist, Mike has done more than 85 speaking engagements, consulted with clients ranging from young to elderly, worked with athletes in virtually all sports and with clients who have “dis-ease” states of a wide variety. Mike also mentors student Master Herbalists and will continue to teach the next generation to grow a deeper wisdom of the human body through appropriate herbal remedies.


For Bulk inquiries and custom formulations click here: https://www.znaturalfoods.com/pages/bulk



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