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Go Herbal, Yes Or No

Aug 17, 2007
Many people nowadays are turning to "organics" and "naturals" solutions for a variety of medical problems. To go or not to go herbal is the question.

The rising popularity of herbal supplements has created a new fad, as some would call it or as others would call it, a new healthier lifestyle. But before you join the bandwagon, here are some things you need to know about the "green" dietary supplementing machine.

According to the definition set by food and drug administrations, drugs are chemicals that can prevent disease, prolong the life, treat other effects of a health condition, improve the quality of life, and/or cure ailments and diseases, or alter the function of any part or chemicals inside the body.

These drugs have proven or approved therapeutic claims. For example, paracetamol is a drug given to bring down the body temperature in fever. Ascorbic acid is indicated for the treatment of scurvy. Iron supplements are given to treat mild cases of anemia.

Herbal supplements are not classified as drugs but as dietary supplements. The main difference is that they do not have approved therapeutic claims unlike in the case of drugs.

Moreover, dietary supplements could either contain vitamins, minerals, herbals, or amino acids, all aimed to add to or supplement the diet of an individual. Dietary supplements are not intended to be taken alone or as a substitute to any food or medicine.

Most of the manufactured medicines we now have once came from animals and plants. Through the years, the life-saving or life-curing components were identified and separated from the harmful ones. This lead to the further drug research and drug development that lead to the production of a variety of drugs from synthetic sources.

But still we have semi-synthetic drugs, as well as drug that more or less approximate the natural composition. Since herbal supplements are made from a mixture of crude herbs reduced into powder or gel form, and later on packaged as tablets and capsules, there is a possibility that life-threatening or at least body chemistry-altering components are still present.

With the rising popularity of using and consuming anything herbal or organic is the proliferation of fake herbal supplements that threaten to endanger lives. One way of ensuring the safety of the people is to have all candidate drugs, food, drinks, and dietary supplements registered with the proper authority. We could ensure the quality and safety of herbal supplements if they get proper classification with the food and drug administration. Moreover, people may be able to file the proper complaints in the event a worsening of health condition is proven to be linked to the use of a particular herbal supplement.

It cannot be discounted that many who have tried herbal supplements experienced an improvement in their health-whether this is due to the herbals themselves or due to a placebo effect, as long as they do not worsen the condition of an individual, then using them is worth the risk. But of course, certain things must be considered before taking those herbal supplements.

First of all, clear your condition with your doctor. Ask him/her if taking a particular herbal supplement is safe given your health condition. People with heart, liver, or kidney trouble, are usually not advised to take herbal supplements, or to take these herbal supplements in minimum amounts.

All substances pass through the liver and kidney to be processed and filtered respectively. Kava, which is used to relieve people from stress, has been pulled out from the Canadian, Singaporean, and German markets because it contains substances that cause liver damage.

Certain herbals such as Ephedra used for losing weight, contains chemicals that can increase heart rate, which in turn can exhaust the heart and cause heart attacks and has been documented by the American Medical Association.

Never take more herbal supplements than as instructed on the bottle or as directed by you physician. Each individual reacts differently to the components of herbal supplements. While it is perfectly safe for one individual to take a supplement of primrose oil capsules, another person may be allergic to it.

No matter how the product pamphlet or the label of the bottle sounds about how it has been found to be helpful in certain conditions, do not substitute herbal supplements for the medications prescribed by your physician.

Always consult your doctor before using this information.

This Article is nutritional in nature and not to be construed as medical advice.
About the Author
David F. Cowley has created over 50 articles about the relationship between diseases and vitamins. For other Articles on Diseases and Vitamin Needs feel free to visit my Web Site at http://www.dfcinvestment-team.com
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