ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Increasingly Popular Herbal Remedies

Updated on March 21, 2011

Herbal remedies, supplements and medications have dramatically increased in popularity over the past two decades. Approximately twenty five percent of American adults report taking herbal remedies such as medicine or supplements. While this may seem like a new trend to some, herbal remedies are actually some of the oldest known forms of health care.

Scientists first began to extract and isolate healing compounds from plants in the early 1800's. Examples include morphine from poppies and aspirin from willow bark.

Many people turn to alternative medications, such as herbal supplements, because they want something readily available that is safer and less invasive for their system. Many are looking for benefits without the unhealthy side effects of over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Supplements will often address the underlying cause rather than just treating the symptom.

Herbal supplements are categorized as a dietary supplement and are governed by different regulations than drugs. Supplement manufacturers are not allowed to claim that their products treat diseases, but are allowed to make structure and function claims. For instance, a supplement label cannot claim to "treat arthritis" but it can say "ideal for joint pain".

Since manufacturers are not required to test or control the quality of their products, there's no guarantee that the supplements are what they say they are. You can't be sure that a plant's active ingredient ends up in the supplement you purchase, whether the dosage makes any sense and what else may be in the pills. It is very important to buy from a reputable maker.

Some herbs have been proven to be effective for minor ailments. For example, saw palmetto may help with an enlarged prostate and St. John's Wort can be helpful for mild depression.

Many herbs are questionable for your safety. Ephedra is an herb used in many weight loss and muscle enhancement pills and has had over 1000 adverse events reported because of it. In many of those cases, it was because people took more than the recommended dosage.

Although it is imperative to understand the actions of the individual active components, scientific research is increasingly showing that active elements of many herbs interact in multifaceted ways to make the therapeutic result of a remedy as a whole.

Be cautious of taking herbal supplements if you are taking any prescribed medications. Side effects are more likely when you mix herbs and pharmaceutical medicines. Also, be careful if you have a medical condition as some herbs can be contraindicated. For instance, licorice root should not be taken by anyone with high blood pressure as this herb can actually raise blood pressure. Always talk to your doctor before taking herbal supplements.

It is recommended to choose herbal supplements with labels that are clearly marked standardized extract, meaning that each dose contains a specific amount of the active ingredient and that the quantity is controlled. Manufacturers determine this standard.

By taking single herb formulas, you're exposing yourself to less medicine and this decreases the chances of side effects. Although an exception would be if a mixture has just the herbs you are looking for.

Always check the expiration date on the label. An herb's effectiveness decreases when exposed to heat and light, so store them in a cool, dark place.

Check for the botanical name and for the species and genus names on product labels. This is important as a common name can sometimes refer to two or three different herbs. Ginseng is a common name but has different species that have certain properties.

Practitioners such as naturopaths have broad training in natural medicine and are likely to use herbs as part of their treatment plans.

The gentle nature of herbal supplements makes them reasonably safe, but this is not true of every herb. Always follow the dosage recommendations on the product label. Many people think that if a little is good, then more must be better. This is not a good practice with any type of supplement or medication. The effect of herbs on your health can be quite complex.

Even though herbs are readily available and are often advertised as natural, this does not mean they are totally safe or free of side effects. Herbs should considered as another form of drugs in our minds. They shouldn't be used haphazardly or taken recreationally. When used with proper care and attention, herbs can be an ally for your health.

Tips For Stocking Your Herbal Medicine Cabinet

Disclaimer: The information on this URL does not constitute legal, medical, product, or service advice or endorsement of a particular supplier or vendor. The naming of a service or an entity on this URL is not in any way to be construed as a guarantee of the products or services provided by any service or entity. The creator of this content is not being compensated financially by any service or entity other than the advertising services which display their ads on this URL.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)