Use Caution with Herbal Supplements

Herbs Medicine:

Today, people are increasingly turning to holistic "medicine" to maintain their health. They may want to avoid prescription drugs' side effects, or to cut medical costs. And today, health food store sales of herbal supplements have increased 10 times over what they were just a few years ago. However, if you believe, as many do, that natural herbs are safe just because they're natural, think again. You do have to worry about use and dosage of these most potent natural substances.

Herbal treatments have been widely touted as healthy alternatives to synthetic and expensive pharmaceuticals. However, you must still use them with caution and you must know what you are doing. Make sure you study and know what you're putting into your body (or on it) before you take an herb you're not familiar with. It could be dangerous.

Some people hope to avoid going to a doctor and instead treat all of their ailments - from the insignificant to the serious - using herbal remedies. It's always best to consult your doctor before you begin using herbal treatments whether alone or in conjunction with other medications he or she prescribes.

Many of the companies that sell herbal remedies on the internet do not possess any sort of certification from a recognized medical association. The integrity of their claims concerning their products is seriously in doubt, and there is no way to verify that you are actually getting what is advertised on their website. You should only buy herbal remedies from companies that you are absolutely sure you can trust.

Make sure you're working toward preventative health, and not simply treatments or cures for diseases or ailments you encounter from time to time. Herbal medicine works best when you try to maintain a balance within your body, not when you seek out help solely to fix an immediate problem.

Whenever you buy herbs, you want to know what the plant does and how much you can safely consume of it. If you're on any other medications, you'll want to check with your physician first to determine if you'll have any unsafe interaction between the natural and synthetic medications.

While most distributors of herbal supplements include dosage directions on the packaging, some do not. You should be able to find information about the particular herb that you are interested in online, so you should ensure that you order the correct herb and take it in the correct amounts.

Whenever you start taking an herb for the first time, you'll want to use caution and start with smaller doses until you make sure you're not going to have an allergic reaction, just as you could with any synthetic medication. Start with a test sample and then if all goes well, increase it to the recommended dose.

Always keep in mind that "natural" substances are not necessarily safe, and that even a small amount of the wrong herbal supplement could be dangerous to your health. You must ensure that you read all of the labels and instructions included with any herbal medication, and to consult your family medical practitioner if you have any doubts.

Kim Archer writes about women's wellness. She is publisher of The Internet Spa, where you'll find up-to-date information to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.

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