Many people around the world take herbal supplements, vitamins or both. It is the era of going back to nature, finding organic ways to address and manage health issues. Substantial research efforts have been made by the World Health Organization (WHO) and countries like the United States, India, and China in the hopes that herbal medicines will play a more prominent and critical role in global health.
In a WHO bulletin, it described traditional herbal medicines as naturally occurring substances derived from plants that have undergone little to no industrial processing. These medicines which are now commonly referred to as herbal supplements or vitamins have been used to treat local illnesses following local or regional healing practices just like in China where it played a very important role in the treatment and prevention of the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the country. To date, these products have a worldwide annual market close to US$60 billion. If you are using herbal medicines or supplements or are curious about them, here are some tips to help you choose which ones are the best for you.
Consult a doctor
It is prudent to seek medical advice from a professional. See your doctor and consult with them about your interest in herbal medicines like Gaia Herbs. They can do an evaluation of your current health condition based on your lifestyle, diet, risk factors and medication if you have ongoing health issues and make a determination whether you are suited to take supplements.
If yes, they can provide guidance in choosing the best supplements for you and prescribe a proper dosage for your needs. Note that not all medical practitioners and pharmacists are not trained about herbal and other natural products so make sure to ask for their level of familiarity with said products. In that case, request for a referral to a dietician or another appropriate professional.
It is important that you do due diligence before buying or using any product. Supplements come in many forms such as teas, powders, pills, and capsules. They all have different absorption qualities which may affect your particular health condition.
When you have identified a brand you are interested in check that manufacturers’ names and addresses are visibly printed on labels and that there is a seal from regulatory organizations like NSF International or the US P Pharmacopeia (USP). Only buy from a reputable and trusted manufacturers and sellers.
To avoid potential drug reactions, read the ingredients list, consult with a professional prior to taking any form of supplement and remember that bloggers or the internet are not a reliable source of information.
Choose natural, sugar and dye-free supplements
Synthetic supplements are processed in laboratories. Avoid these and opt for products labeled as “natural”. They also generally contain other ingredients than the herb, vitamin, mineral, and amino acids they intend to like sugars and dyes. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer to verify this information and speak to your doctor if you have questions about a product.