Herbal supplements are growing in popularity, as people are now discovering new ways to improve health and are turning to natural remedies rather than pharmaceutical drugs. With various researches being conducted on the therapeutic applications of herbal extracts and herbs, there is strong evidence that consuming herbal supplements in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle will help in remaining healthy.
However, the problem is that herbal supplements do not have strict regulations, and hence the effectiveness of the herbal supplement, depends on the health condition of the individual, his or her medical history, and the herb by itself. Hence consultation with a doctor is necessary before turning to herbal supplements.
Choosing a Herbal Supplement
Purchase only standardized herbal supplements “ The Herbal supplement product should carry a seal which indicates that the product has met a certain manufacturing standard, which includes testing the product for cleanliness, uniformity, environmental pollution etc.
¢ Purchase only single-herb herbal supplements “ The product should clearly indicate the quantity of herb in each dose. Certain products, for example contain unknown proportions of various herbs.
¢ A single herbal supplement cannot tackle multiple health problems, and hence such claims which sound outrageous should be left to ones instinct to decide.
¢ Rarely, herbal supplements are also said to contain toxic ingredients and prescription drugs in certain countries, due to lack of standardization and regulations, and hence should be taken only on consultation with a professional herbalist.
Herbal supplements should be avoided under the following circumstances:
Herbal supplements should be avoided in case one is already using an over-the-counter medication for any particular illness. Certain herbs cause bad side effects when mixed with prescription drugs such as blood thinners, aspirin or blood pressure medications.
Also in cases where there is a specific proven treatment available for a particular medical condition, which has a good record of effectiveness and safety, without much side effects, then that could be chosen as an alternative. Any herbal medications or prescription drugs should not be taken during pregnancy until a doctor approves the same, as it could prove harmful to the foetus or the mother.
Herbal Supplements could come in the way of surgery, and hence should be avoided during surgery to prevent complications. Herbal supplements should be kept to minimum and administered only if absolutely necessary, for children below 16 and elders above 65 years of age.