Is this product 100% herbal? You might have asked this question to any supplier, be it a beauty product or a dietary supplement, which youre contemplating to purchase. Herbal or botanical supplements are a type of dietary supplements that are made from an entire plant or a part of the plant that possess the therapeutic or medicinal properties. Many herbal supplements have a history of providing health benefits to mankind.
Some common herbs that you may have heard of are green tea, known for its antioxidant properties and to boost immune system; flax seeds, used to lower cholesterol; the cornflower species of Genus Echinacea, known to prevent colds; and many more.
We have the pre-conceived perception that herbal products are very safe. But behold the truth! Not all are safe; few even pose serious health problems. Hence, along with safe ones, those that may possess serious risks to health may also be available in the market or OTC. Therefore, it is essential to do thorough research on these products before buying them.
A consultation with your health practitioner is also highly recommended before you include them in your diet regime.
Are herbal really supplements safe?
All herbal supplements that are proclaimed to be 100% safe and natural, neednt necessarily deliver the safety and quality as they are supposed to. That said, not all herbal supplements are dangerous either. You may note the fact that though herbal supplements follow the good manufacturing practices, its not mandatory for companies to submit evidence to the FDA regarding the safety and efficacy of their products. Hence, such supplements are available in the open market.
If serious implications are noted regarding the consumption of a specific herb, the FDA can take appropriate actions to ensure consumer safety. For instance, the dose of Piper Methysticum (Kava), a herb supplement used to treat anxiety, when exceeded the dosage can cause serious damage to the liver and in some cases even death.
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There are certain circumstances where you may want to consider the safety factor before you consume these supplements:
If youre pregnant, certain herbal supplements arent considered safe enough to consume as it may affect the foetus. Check with your dietician or physician before you even think of consuming any herbal supplements or products.
Interaction with other medicines:
In case youre on regular medications such as blood thinners like aspirin, a combination with some supplements may complicate your current health condition. Avoid hazard and check with the doc prior to experimentation.
Follow the instructions:
You may want to consume the right dose as instructed on the label of the supplement and also upon consultation with your health practitioner. Too much is too bad and too little might not affect; either ways you could be at risk.
Certain herbal supplements are not recommended before a surgery as they may interfere with the success of the surgery. If you are already consuming any such supplements then ensure your surgeon knows about this much in advance. Itll always pay off to be wiser and cautious.
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Age and gender:
Depending on your age and gender, whether a teen or an elderly person, male or female, a consultation with a health practitioner is recommended, to check the safety and required dosage. You may need to alter or may be even not take certain supplements and it is very important you know this before.
Before buying herbal supplements:
Now that youre aware that FDA regulations are not very stringent on approval of herbal supplements, its better to be safe than sorry. Here are a few tips that could help you decide the best herbal supplement before actually purchasing one from the market.
Do your Homework!
Perform a thorough research on the supplement you are planning to buy. Check for the various distributors and manufacturers of that supplement. Also check for the history of the distributors and manufacturers to see how theyve been doing. A good supplement will have a good reputation throughout.
Label says it all
Read through the label for the ingredients in the supplement. If the ingredients are not listed, it may be a factor of concern. Read on and try to understand the nutrition labelling. Talk to a practitioner or an informed personnel if need be to understand more.
Making an informed decision is very critical; after all your health is in your hands. As weve seen above, consuming herbal supplements without thorough knowledge may lead to serious health complications and perhaps even hazards. Consultation with your doctor is always recommended as the best option. Your family doctor is aware of your health condition and could also help to throw some light on the adverse drug interactions that are probable. Right choice is a necessity. Comment in the section below to let us know what you think. If you like this article, dont forget to give us a thumbs up and go ahead and share.