Herbal supplements are tablets or liquids that are made from combinations of herbs and other ingredients. Some examples include garlic extract, echinacea, and ginkgo. The pills are considered dietary supplements and are not tightly regulated like other medications. The supplements contain one or more different herbs in various combinations. The herbs that are selected normally have some recorded beneficial property. These could be anti-inflammatory properties or pain-relieving properties. The abilities of an herb are sometimes based on medical research and are sometimes based on anecdotal evidence.
Herbal supplements have been increasing in popularity in recent years. They help individuals who want to supplement a diet or to treat certain conditions without resorting to prescription pharmaceuticals. One benefit is that some supplements contain concentrated extracts of an herb so that the effects are more pronounced. They are also helpful because many herbs like black cohosh or ginseng are not commonly available in all areas. The amount of the extract in each tablet also makes it unnecessary to consume large quantities of an herb that might not have a pleasant taste. There are currently herbal supplements for nearly every common herb and many plants that are exotic or located in isolated regions of the world.
One of the largest problems with herbal supplements is that they are not tightly regulated. This means that many common labeling conventions such as all natural are meaningless when looking at a bottle. Additionally, there is no strict regulation of the contents of the pills. A supplement that claims to contain parsley extract could actually contain a synthetic form of the active ingredient and no parsley. Similarly, a product that is labeled as natural could contain anything from synthetic chemicals to powerful binders and preservatives. It is always important to look at the labels and ingredients on a bottle in order to determine which herbal supplement is the best for a particular use.
Herbal supplements are made from plants and other substances that contain chemicals. These chemicals interact with the body in the same way as prescription or over-the-counter medications. A major danger of herbal supplements is interactions with other necessary drugs. Certain herbal supplements might cause excessive blood thinning or changes in brain chemistry that will result in serious side effects when combined with prescription medications. Some supplements will even interact with over-the-counter medications like antihistamines. It is always best to consult a medical professional before taking herbal supplements. This is especially important when taking prescription medications or dealing with a chronic disease.