Something You All Should Know About Herbal Health Supplements

It was the time when people used to rely on organic sources of food and easily cover up all the nutrients that are necessary for the body, but now the tables are turned. People have started preferring herbal dietary supplements over natural food, and somehow it is better for the coming generations. The fact behind the appreciation of this selection is because in the coming years people will be so busy that they can’t afford enough time to have proper meal, and then these supplements will cover the nutritional needs of the body. Many people take dietary supplements to feel good and health care. With so many dietary supplements available and so many messages about their health benefits, how does a consumer know what is safe and effective?

Herbal health supplements are a type of dietary supplement. An herb is a plant or plant part (such as leaves, flowers or seeds) used for its flavor, aroma and its therapeutic properties. The term “botanical” is often used synonymously with “grass”. An herbal supplement may contain a single herb or a mixture thereof. This fact sheet provides an overview of dietary supplements discusses safety considerations and suggests sources for additional information.

Here “Natural” doesn’t mean natural

It is a big misconception spreading among people that all the vitamins and herbs labeled as “natural” are really natural and safe. Do not think that all supplements and herbal products are safer than medicines just because they occur in nature or come from plants. Although supplements and herbal products are advertised as “natural”, they are not necessarily natural to the human body. Some supplements and herbal products may contain other ingredients that may even make you sick.

Sometimes the supplements contain drugs that are not described on the label, such as steroids or estrogen. Some of these products may even contain toxic (poisonous) such as arsenic, mercury, lead and pesticides. However, some herbal supplements stores of vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements follow the quality standards of the US Pharmacopoeia Convention. These supplement manufacturers volunteered to have their make tests supplements for quality and purity by an outside company before they are sold. These supplements often show credentials additional quality on their labels, such as “USP Verified” (verified by USP) or “Approved Quality”. Choose your supplements carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.

How should I take supplements and herbal products safely?

Read the instructions on the supplement label to find out how much to take and how often. If you have questions about how much to take, call your doctor or pharmacist. Follow these tips to ensure that you are taking the correct amount:

  • If you take a prescription medication, ask your doctor if it is okay also take supplements and herbal products.

  • Take only the amount recommended on the label. Do not assume that the more supplements or herbal products take work better or faster. Taking more than the recommended amount can be dangerous.

Can supplements and herbal health products cause other problems?

Yes. The vitamins and herbs can have other unwanted effects. For example:

  • Glucosamine products may contain sodium. If you have a low sodium diet, talk to your doctor before taking glucosamine.

  • Kava can increase the effects of alcohol. Do not drink alcohol if you take kava products.

  • Black cohosh contains salicylates phytoestrogen, so avoid it if you are sensitive to aspirin or other salicylates.

You should not take more than the recommended dose of any supplement or herbal health product dosage. The problems that these products can cause are more likely to occur if you take too much or for too long

How should I store supplements and herbal products safely?

Store all supplements up high and out of reach and sight of young children. Keep these products in a cool, dry place prevent lose their effectiveness before their expiration date. Do not store cabinets in bathrooms or toilets that are often hot and humid.

Is it safe to take herbal products if I have health problems?

Supplements and herbal products may not be safe if you have certain health problems. Older adults may have an increased risk of problems from these products. Talk to your doctor before taking herbal products if you have any of the following health problems:

  • Problems with blood clotting

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Enlarged prostate gland

  • Epilepsy

  • Glaucoma

  • Heart disease

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Immune system problems

  • PD

  • Psychiatric problems

  • Liver problems

  • Apoplexy

  • Thyroid problems

If you are having surgery, make sure you tell your doctor if you use herbal products. Herbal products can cause problems with surgery, including bleeding and problems with anesthesia. Stop using herbal health supplements at least 2 weeks before surgery or sooner if your doctor recommends it.