In the last few years herbal remedies have become very popular as an alternative treatment for a variety of illnesses and health issues. Natural health stores have popped up from coast to coast and are now quite predominant on the internet as well. Herbal remedies are offered as a treatment for everything from the common cold to more serious health issues such as cancer. Before you rush out to purchase herbal remedies, there are a few things you should know about herbal remedies, their effectiveness and possible dangers and risks that you may encounter by taking them.
One of the most important facts about herbal remedies that consumers should be aware of is the fact that, unlike other treatments, they are governed by any governmental agency. This means there is no quality assurance system in place to insure that the herbal remedy product you purchase contains nothing that would harm you, or even works for that matter.
Many herbal remedies are advertised with amazing claims of effectiveness and some even come with reported clinical trials to back up those claims. What consumers are generally unaware of is that the suggested clinical trials were performed by the marketer themselves, and not a non-biased third party lab. This means that the herbal remedy may be no more effective than a sugar pill.
Furthermore, quite a few herbal remedies have adverse affects whey combined with other medications; particularly prescription meds. This information is generally not released by the marketer of the herbal remedy and it’s highly possible that a consumer would never know they were ingesting a deadly cocktail by mixing an herbal remedy with the medicine prescribed to them by their doctor. A surprising number of herbal remedies, including St. John’s wort, Ginko biloba and Ginseng have very dangerous side effects when mixed with antidepressants.
Ginko biloba has been known to cause problems with bleeding and could be particularly dangerous for someone about to undergo surgery or who is already taking any type of blood thinning medication. As frightening as these facts are; consumers rarely get this information from the labels of herbal remedies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically prohibits the manufacturers and marketers of herbal remedies from claiming that their product is able to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any kind of disease or illness. This doesn’t stop many companies from coming as close to that line as possible; or even going over it. Consumers should be wary of any herbal remedy that claims any of the above.
Herbal remedies can provide positive benefits when used carefully and wisely. Consumers can safely use herbal remedies by taking the time to research the product, its effectiveness and drug interactions. Also remember to thoroughly read the product label. Some companies attempt to increase their profit margin by including fillers, such as sand, with the product.
If you aren’t sure whether an herbal remedy will interact negatively with the medications you are already taking, ask your physician. He or she will be able to let you know whether you can safely take the product or not.
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.