Benefits & Side Effects of Herbal Products

With more and more people turning towards alternative medicine for both therapy and treatment, herbal products and supplements are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Herbal and plant products have been used for healing and curing since time immemorial. In fact, these are the earliest medicines known to man. The inefficiency of conventional allopathic medicine in treating various chronic ailments, and the side effects involved in using these medicines has led to a large number of people turning towards alternative medicine systems that use herbal products and supplements for treatment and therapy.
Nowadays, herbal products and supplements derived from barks and branches to roots, flowers and seeds are back in full glory as not just cures for diseases but also as therapeutic supplements for holistic health and healing. Herbal supplements are available for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, ailments of the respiratory system and allergies. These medicines and herbs are also very popular for boosting the immune system and making it stronger. Many immune system deficiencies are also being treated through the use of these herbal products and supplements.
Other areas where herbal products and supplements are being used are the treatment of neurological disorders and stress related syndromes, sexual dysfunction in both men and women and heart problems. Therapeutic supplements that reduce cholesterol, help in weight loss, memory enhancement, boost concentration, fortify the cardiovascular system are quite popular among all age groups since most of these products do not have any kind of side effects. Herbal products and supplements that increase stamina and energy levels or strengthen the immune system and the cardiovascular system are other highly beneficial products that are effective without being harmful.
The main reason for the popularity of many of these herbal products and supplements is that they have no counterpart in conventional medicine. To date, allopathic medicine has not been able to produce any effective therapeutic supplements for aiding the memory, immune system or energy levels. Similarly, while prescription drugs are known to cure and treat heart ailments, there are no known and tested drugs that actually strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Apart from this, herbal supplements are known to be more effective and powerful as compared to over the counter vitamin and mineral supplements when it comes to making up for the deficiencies in a regular diet. Enzymes, amines, vitamins and minerals present in herbal supplements are more easily synthesised and absorbed by the human body than those present in chemical supplements.
These and many other such reasons have prompted a large number of people to turn towards herbal products and supplements ranging from tonics and capsules to teas and natural oils. However, there are certain things that you need to know before you start using any herbal products off the counter or order them from an online store. One very serious misconception that people have about herbal products and supplements is that they are “natural” and therefore do not have any side effects.
In fact, these are two major misconceptions. The first one being that while herbal supplements and products no doubt use natural plant products, they often contain many “unnatural” substances as a base or an ingredient. The other major misconception is that herbal products have no side effects whatsoever. This is not true.
What is true is that most herbal products have no side effects and in fact side effects from these products are minimal when compared to the side effects caused by conventional drugs. However, many of these products often have some side effects, could be habit forming and can also interfere with the absorption of certain medicines that you are taking. Therefore, it is advised that you start taking such a product only after checking with your doctor.
Another thing that you need to know before you start taking any herbal products is that herbal product manufacturing is not as highly regulated as that of conventional medicines. As a result, there are hundreds of products in the market that are not pure or properly manufactured. Taking one of these products will not only lead to no good, it can end up harming you badly.
You can avoid landing up with a spurious product by checking whether a product has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for all ingredients. Adherence to GMP manufacturing processes laid down for proper production of these products is another thing that you will need to check before you buy.
In case you suffer from any serious medical problems, then also it is advised that you check with your physician before you start taking any herbal products and supplements since they may interfere with your prescription drugs or even otherwise adversely affect your health.
On the other hand, taking herbal products and supplements based on the advice of a certified nutritionist or alternative medicine practitioner along with the agreement of your own personal physician can end up doing you a world of good by not just treating your particular ailments but also by improving your overall health.
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