A Quick Guide to Herbal Supplements

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On certain occasions we might not have specific symptoms, or we are making treatment, and it’s not working well enough, or we feel great, but we want to feel awesome.

That’s when lots of people start looking for alternative medicines and herbal supplements.

So what are the pros and cons of herbal supplements? We’ve summarized them here below.

ProsCons
They work, it’s older than regular medicationCan contradict regular medication
They have potent effects and can support treatment by prescription drugsThey don’t go under the same scrutiny of prescription drugs
Based on natural and organic ingredientsEffects on a pregnant woman have not been tested
Known brands have excellent production methodsSome brands claims might not be substantial

Why Herbal Supplements?

Humans have been using herbal supplements for treatments for thousands of years. The oldest written record talking about plants and medicine was found on a piece of clay with up to 12 different medicine recipes on it and was 5,000 years old!

It’s always important to mention and remember that herbal supplements are not medicine. The FDA classifies them as food. The difference with prescription drugs is that they have had all their ingredients completely purified, where herbal supplements use mainly natural plant extract.

Prescription drugs are regulated by the FDA very strictly while herbal supplements don’t. So medicine and herbal supplements are kept completely separate in most western countries.

However, in China, herbal medicine is considered to be an important part of the healthcare system and is prescribed together with modern to treat many diseases.

In the western world, a lot of medicines come from herbs. Take aspirin as an example. Native Americans have used willow bark to treat fevers for centuries. Aspirin is purified from the active component in willow bark that was treating the fever all along.

There are two types of herbal supplements, some of them you can find in food others don’t. Take  St John’s Wort as an example which some people use to treat depression, you cant find them in the food you need to take as a supplement.

The second group includes nutrients like omega 3, vitamin D, and iron and you could be eating foods that are rich in these nutrients instead of taking supplements. So vitamins, food, or supplements? It will your decision only.

Herbal supplements apart from their long history have many extra benefits. Turmeric, for example, has been proven to alleviate joint arthritis. Herbal supplements are fully natural and usually organic, too.

However; you need to be careful when taking herbal supplements for a few reasons:

The ingredients may differ from those used in the research studies that they base their claims on

They could interact with medications so it is really important to talk to your physician before taking any herbal supplements

They don’t go through the same testing as prescription drugs do, so they may not list all of the side effects, etc

They may not have been tested on pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children. So it is doubly important to speak to your physician in any of these cases!

How to choose the best Herbal Supplement Brands?

To know that all these questions should be addressed.

  • Is the manufacturer involved in the research?
  • Does the product make outlandish or unprovable claims?
  • Is there a standardized formula, dosage, side effects, interactions, etc?
  • Is the label information clear?
  • Is there a clear way of contacting the company, and/or the people who work for them?

There are some natural supplement brands that I really trust, and some that I’m not so sure about. So by answering all the previous questions, it will help find the herbal supplement that is right for you, and to help keep you safe and healthy, Keeping in touch with your physician and doing some research into the brand you are buying can help to keep you safe!

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