Pancake and syrup, peanut butter and jelly… there are some things that are just better together.

And the same is true for some natural substances too. When taken in combination, some natural substances, like CBD and other beneficial materials, actually work better than if you were to take them individually.

Why Combinations of Natural Substances Work Better

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Combinations can be dangerous, even when we’re talking about natural substances. But in some cases, combinations enhance the effects of the substances you’re taking and can work very well.

In this section, we explore why that happens.

Plants contain hundreds to thousands of unique compounds and we cannot even begin to understand how they work in synergy with each other. This is why most experts recommend eating whole foods instead of taking individual supplements.

We know that there are benefits to ingesting vitamins in their whole form with the other included nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals. What we don’t know is precisely why. In nature, there are too many combinations to effectively study the impact they have upon one another in our bodies. But science and history tell us that there are beneficial effects when eating whole foods and when combining certain natural substances.

The same holds true for other plant substances like cannabis. Research shows us that there are many benefits to CBD in its many forms. Yet the combination of CBD and THC can have an entirely different effect when taken in cannabis form.

Vitamin and Food Combinations

While we’re talking about combining natural substances, let’s not forget one of the most basic and essential combinations: Combining fat-soluble vitamins with fatty foods.

If you’re eating a meal that’s rich in fat-soluble vitamins, including A, D, E, and K, your body will absorb them better if you also consume fatty foods. This means that if you’re eating leafy greens, you should try to add avocado or a healthy oil to help your body absorb all the amazing fat-soluble vitamins in your veggies.

Similarly, if you’re taking a vitamin D supplement (as many of us should), one study has shown that you can increase absorption by about 50 percent when you take that vitamin with a meal.

Further, research has shown that megadosing certain fat-soluble vitamins can reduce the absorption of other fat-soluble vitamins. So again, it’s always best to get as many vitamins as you can from food sources to avoid complications.

Winning Natural Combinations

One study pairs five commonly used medicinal herb extracts (thyme, rosemary, sage, spearmint and peppermint) in a 1:1 ratio to test their anti-cancer activities. The sage and peppermint combination showed the most promising synergistic effects on inhibiting cancer cell growth. And the results were even more effective than each compound used on its own.

Another study looked at a different set of five herbs and found that they were more effective when used together than when used apart.

But this doesn’t mean that the same will be true for all herbal remedies. You should always talk to your doctor or naturopath before combining any natural remedies. The effects can be amazing or incredibly dangerous.

Rules of Thumb for Natural Combinations

When you’re looking to combine natural substances, consider the intensity of substance along with its natural effect.

For example, there are many similarities between kratom and kava, and there are many differences. You may store kratom capsules and kava powder in similar conditions, and they both can have sedative effects, but the actual effects of each on the body are quite different. And because they both can be powerful sedatives, it’s not recommended to take the two together.

On the other hand, kava and CBD are often combined for the benefits of relaxation and muscle relaxation. More research should be done on the safety and efficacy of the pair, but anecdotal reports paint a positive picture.

If you’re considering a combination of natural substances, you can try a quick Google search to evaluate safety. And if you’re at all concerned, or if you’re taking other herbs or medications, consult your doctor or naturopath for some guidance.

Much like peanut butter and jelly, there are some winning combinations found in nature that could help you live a healthier life. Some of them are obvious (like fat-soluble vitamins with fats) and some require a little more research (like kava and CBD). But it can never hurt to do your homework. And if you have any questions, you can always ask your doctor or naturopath.