Safe Herbal Supplements
When talking about the safety issue of herbal supplements, the underlying misconception is that if it’s natural, then it’s safe. This is not entirely true. Herbs, or their derivatives, e.g. herbal supplements, are far from being harmless. Many herbs contain substances which when processed or ingested may cause harmful effects to the body. And some herbal supplements have been known to have dangerous interactions when taken with other drugs.
Safe Herbal Supplements – A Misconception
Since herbal supplements are readily available in Western countries, especially in the U.S., most people assume that they are safe to use, ergo, harmless. Thus, as a consequence, they employ these so-called “safe” herbal supplements in self-treatments for a variety of conditions and for boosting their body’s overall function. However, herbal supplements or plain herbs may cause serious interactions, especially with new-generation drugs that contain chemicals.
Safe Herbal Supplements – Regulation
Another reason for the questionable safety of herbal supplements is the fact that they are not as steadfastly regulated as other more conventional drugs. According the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), only medicines have to be proven safe before they are released in the market. Unfortunately, herbal supplements are not classified as medicines or drugs. As such, they fall under the label of “dietary supplements”, requiring no FDA approval. No FDA approval means no rigorous tests conducted to determine the efficacy and the safety of such product.
Safe Herbal Supplements – Side Effects
Some herbal supplements are not considered safe because of the herbs’ known side effects. If you are interested in taking herbal supplements or preparations, then you should take care to consult your physician first. This is to make sure that it is safe for you to take such a product, considering that it does not contain any potential toxins either on its own or in combination with other drugs.
Here are some herbs contained in many herbal supplements that have been reported to have toxic chemicals in them:
Borage, as an herbal supplement, is a source of essential fatty acids and used for rheumatoid arthritis and hypertension. Herbal supplements containing this plant are generally not considered safe for people with heart problems as they contain toxic carcinogens.
Calamus is another ingredient of some herbal supplements. It is said to be psychoactive, however, it is not promoted in the U.S. because of safety issues. It is said to contain carcinogenics, which are harmful to individuals who take them.
Chaparral and ephedra are popular ingredients of herbal supplements that promote weight loss. Ephedra, on its own, has been banned in the market because it has been linked with at least 15 deaths and over a hundred complications, including heart palpitations, stroke, and erratic heart rate.
TOTAL WORD COUNT – 453
KEYWORDS “Herbal Supplements” – 18 (density = 4.0%)
“Safe” – 15 (density = 3.3%)