Medicinal herbs are one of the oldest and most common forms of treatment. There are hundreds of medicinal herbs in the market - in fact, almost any herb has some degree of medicinal value. Some of the most commonly used medicinal herbs are aloe vera, chamomile, garlic, St. John's wort, and tea tree.
Today, herbs are commonly used as health supplements and alternative treatments. However, not all herbal supplements are safe because there is limited government regulation on such products. Customers should read labels carefully to make sure their herbal supplements are reliable. Here are some basic facts and tips on choosing the right medicinal herbs.
Pros and cons
Herbal medicines are made from plant extracts or whole foods, which makes them easier to absorb than synthetic nutrients. They are also less likely to have side effects or cause adverse reactions. Medicinal herbs are ideal for patients with high-risk medical conditions such as hypertension and heart disease.
Herbs contain antioxidants, which stimulate the immune system and help fight disease. This process takes time, however, so some herbs act slower than conventional drugs. Herbal supplements must be taken regularly or according to prescription to give them time to take effect.
Medicinal herbs have minimal side effects, but they can cause adverse reactions in some patients. Aloe vera can cause cramps and abdominal pain, and chamomile can cause vomiting and rashes. Toxic effects have also been reported, but these are rare and usually happen in patients with preexisting conditions. To minimize side effects, always take herbal medicines at the right dosage and time of day. Most herbs are best taken in the morning.
Consult your doctor
Although most herbal medicines are non-prescription, it is still best to consult your doctor before taking any supplements. Your doctor can help you choose the right type and brand for your age, lifestyle, and overall health, or at least tell you what to look for. Be sure to mention any medications you are currently taking, as some herbs react negatively to some chemicals.
IMPORTANT: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not impose strict regulations on medicinal herbs because they do not qualify as drugs. Some supplements contain additives that can be harmful to your health, such as glutted, sugar, starch, and silica. To stay safe, make sure your herbal supplements comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. Also, make sure they do not contain any artificial colors or flavors.