When we take an herbal nutritional supplement, we take it to improve a specific area of our health or to prevent a disease from occurring or progressing.
The Benefits of Herbal Supplements
Used in some way for a therapeutic purpose, an herbal nutritional supplement is made from a plant or a part of a plant. For over 40,000 years these plants, known as herbs, have been used as a natural form of medicine.
It is estimated that in the United States between 30 and 50 percent of adults take herbal supplements. As more people realize the benefits of these supplements, their popularity continues to increase. In today's world many people live a very fast paced, hectic, lifestyle. Each day they face stressful situations at work and at home. Working long hours, eating fast food and sitting in rush hour traffic are common occurrences. Taking herbal supplements can help in many ways. They can relieve feelings of stress, increase energy levels and improve memory. Herbal supplements also improve your overall health, promote a sense of well being and enhance your quality of life.
In many cases, herbal supplements often work as effectively as prescription medications. They offer an alternative, natural choice to the synthetic drugs found in those medications. Often, the herbal equivalent of a medication will also have fewer side-effects than the synthetic version.
Each herb, or group of herbs, has its own unique health benefits. For example, herbs that help to reduce stress include the kava kava root, valerian and gotu kola while echinacea, flax herb and bupleurum help to boost the immune system.
Herbal Supplement Safety Tips
Many people automatically think of herbs as being natural safe substances. They never bother to learn about the herb they are interested in taking, which could put them in a dangerous situation. It is essential that you always become familiar with the herb you want to take, its benefits, side effects and drug interactions before beginning the supplement.
It is important to always remember that the word natural does not have the same meaning as the word safe. When choosing an herbal supplement the following are a few key points to remember.
- Herbal supplements should be respected the same as prescription medications.
- Make sure to eat a healthy balanced diet in addition to taking nutritional supplements.
- Purchase herbal supplements from companies that have a good reputation. It has been proven that there have been companies that claim their nutritional supplements have certain active ingredients that are not in the products at all. Other companies have included ingredients that are considered harmful.
Online Resources for Herbal Nutritional Supplements
The following are several of the excellent resources found on the Internet.
- Herbal Nutritional Supplements has many informative areas including a traditional usage index, nutritional contents of herbs, products and tips. Examples of the nutritional content of herbs include:
- Natural Medicinal Herbs is an excellent online reference guide to herbs and their uses, side effects and dosage.
- Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs by Mark Pedersen offers a through understanding of herbs and their nutritional value. This book is available at Amazon.
- The Complete Self-Care Guide to Homeopathy, Herbal Remedies and Nutritional Supplements by Ellen Feingold, also available at Amazon.
As people continue to search for new ways of improving their health, many of them are realizing the benefits of herbal nutritional supplements. Although the benefits of taking them are numerous, it is always best to check with your medical professional before you begin.