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Herbal Dietary Supplements

By Annal Lynn Sibal

Things You Need to Know about Herbal Supplements

One of the trends that are getting more and more popular nowadays in the world of health and wellness is taking herbal supplements. There are a number of herbal supplement products out there that are being touted as good for a number of conditions, whether for making the skin smoother and clearer or improving the blood circulation of the body, or even as a substitute for Viagra. There are just so many herbal supplement products out there.

Many of these herbal supplements available have very attractive advertisements and come-ons, found on the Internet or in magazines or even in television. If you are looking into a particular product in the market and are a tad fascinated by the productís ad, before you take out your wallet and place an order, there are a few things you need to be aware of about herbal supplements.

First of all is that just because an herbal supplement is labeled as natural, it does not automatically mean that the product is safe and harmless. After all, there are just as many naturally occurring substances that can cause more harm than good. Nightshade is a good example of this. The herb comfrey has many uses, but it can also cause some side effects like liver problems.

And even if the herbal dietary supplement product is proven to be safe, if you use it incorrectly or took too much of it, it can act just like a drug and make you overdose on it. Sometimes, the mixture of the product is not as the label has indicated; the ingredients contained by the product are not as apportioned as the way the label states. It is also not easy to pinpoint the active ingredients in the mixture of the herbal supplement product.

Another thing you need to consider is the fact that in the United States at least, their Food and Drug Administration (FDA), herbal supplements are classified as food. So, you cannot expect these herbal supplements to conform to the standards of safety and security that are meant for drugs. Also, you cannot be sure if the ingredients of the herbal supplement you will be taking are not contaminated by metals, microorganisms or whatever substances which are harmful when ingested by the body.

And so, it is very important that before you buy a particular herbal supplement that you do some prior research. Search for the product on Google and see if you can come up with resources and credible reviews on the product. Ask your physician if he knows anything about the product; even if he himself does not know anything about it, he has access to materials, literature and experts who may have reliable information about the herbal supplement.

Once you start taking a particular herbal supplement, especially those prescribed by practitioners of ayurveda, homeopathy and other alternative medical systems, make sure that you are doing it under the supervision of a trained practitioner. Never self-medicate. If you are pregnant or nursing, or if you are thinking of making your child take some herbal supplements for whatever condition the child is in, think twice before you do it. Some herbal supplements can put childrenís bodies in harmís way rather than help them.

Do not be taken in at once by lovely come-ons with regards to herbal dietary supplements. Make sure you know what you are getting into first before you get into it.