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Herbal Remedies: 3 Things Every Consumer Should Know

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Herbal remedies, dietary supplements, and botanical medicines are part of the growing interest in alternative medicines and therapies that people are seeking today. When you walk into many large supermarkets you may see an aisle dedicated to natural medicines. Spend any time online researching health questions and you will be bombarded with advertisements for the "next big thing" in supplements that will claim to cure everything from earaches to diabetes to cancer.

I am a great believer in the efficacy and safety of natural products when used properly in a patient's overall regimen. I also think it's great that more and more people are interested in taking an active role in their own health plans, but as the old saying goes, "A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing," especially when it comes to self-prescribing medicines. Here are three vital things every consumer should consider about botanicals and dietary supplements:

1) Just because a plant or herb is natural doesn't make it safe for you to take, even if it is sold as an alternative medicine.

2) Not all herbal remedies or natural medicines are created equal.

3) As always, if the claims about a product sound too good to be true, they probably are.

Let's consider each of these points in a little more detail.

1) Just because a plant or herb is natural doesn't make it safe for you to take, even if it is sold as an alternative medicine.

Since herbs and plants must be used in strong enough doses to make them effective in the treatment of many conditions, there can also be contraindications for the use of them. Contraindications can occur if the herb is taken over an extended period of time (1-2 months) or in large doses that could result in side effects.

Drug interactions may also occur when an herb is taken. Combining an herbal remedy with another drug can be problematic and possibly dangerous. The combination of a pharmaceutical drug with an herb may interfere with the activity of the herb or drug, thus producing a decrease or increase in the effectiveness of the drug.

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EmpowHER Guest

Hey ,
This are really gr8 tips of herbs and buying them .I really feel the pain when a client comes to me with issue due to wrong herbs taken , just because it was suggested in the shop or stuff like that ..

July 29, 2009 - 6:30am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.