Just What Do You Know About Herbals, Vitamins & Minerals?

Everyone is interested in maintaining good health, a positive and intelligent goal. Generally, herbs, vitamins, minerals and good food all help the to protect the body from illness. Herbs can help to balance body chemistry to avoid disease as well as provide energy and proper systems functioning to eliminate toxic accumulation and congestion that cause disease.

Herbal remedies use various plant material as the basis for valuable medicine and are a naturally therapeutic remedy that have been used for years.The tendency in conventional medicine has been to focus on the elimination of symptoms rather than on removing the underlying conditions from which the illness arises. Using herbal remedies as mild therapeutic agents aids the body in adjusting the factors that are likely to be the cause of the disease process.

It is vital to understand the limits of herbals and be aware of the many dangers they can cause. The followig information is given as a means to introduce you to many aspects of herbal use that may not be known. It is wise that since some herbal remedies will interact or contraindicate certain drugs. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if an interaction is suspected. Yes, herbs can be used for minor ailments and in emergency aid, or taken for long standing disease as well as for acute conditions, but an accurate dosage and regular usage should be determined with a health care provider.

Here are some facts to consider if you use Herbs on a regular basis:

Echinacea can cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to the Asteraceae / Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed as well as daisies, marigolds and many other herbs.

Ginkgo Biloba can interact with other medications that you may be taking. Because of its mechanism of action, Ginkgo Biloba may increase the risk of bleeding if taken with other anticoagulants (blood thinners) and antiplatelet drugs. Some of these drugs include aspirin (ASA), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, indomethacin (Indocin), ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others. It is important to be monitored by a doctor if you are contemplating the use of Ginkgo Biloba while on blood thinners or any other medications. For blood thinning medication specifically, the dose of the prescription drug may need to be altered due to the additional blood thinning action of Ginkgo Biloba

St. John’s Wort should not be used in combination with Fluoxetine and should be discontinued for at least 14 days before starting Fluoxetine.
Fluoxetine should be discontinued for at least 5 weeks before starting St. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort may reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. If you do use this product, it might be advisable to use an additional or an alternative form of birth control

Herbals Ingestion and Children –
Each herb must be looked at separately. In general, herbs are not advised for children since herbs are typically used for assisting in the treatment of an ailment. Unless you have consulted with your doctor, children do not need to take herbs.

Dietary Supplements / Herbs – Fad vs Facts-
There is little evidence that dietary supplements have the effects claimed to melt away pounds without diet or exercise – and there is evidence that some supplements can cause damage to your health, and teens especially.

Dietary supplements come in pill, gel capsule, liquid, or powder forms and their safety is not really known. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which normally checks out the safety of foods and medicines before they come on the market, does not check on the safety of dietary supplements before they’re sold. The FDA has to wait until it receives reports of problems caused by supplements before it can investigate and ban a dietary supplement.

Remember, if you take an untested supplement, you are serving as the manufacturer’s unpaid guinea pig and risking your own health. The herb ephedra (also called ma huang or herbal fen-phen) was pulled by the FDA in 2003 from the U.S. market after it was linked to the death of a well-known baseball player.

Even engery bars are used as a dietary supplement. These high-calorie, fortified treats should be used with caution. They may serve a purpose for athletes who burn lots of calories in high-intensity activities, like competitive cycling. But for most people they can add unwanted calories to the diet, and they’re not particularly filling as a meal. Know the use of the herb or supplement before you use it. Herbs like chickweed, ginseng, kelp, and bee pollen, often included in diet aids, do nothing to promote weight loss – and some can be harmful or deadly in large doses.

Warning Signs While Taking Supplements:
Stomach discomfort, pain, headache, rashes, or even vague symptoms like tiredness, dizziness, or lethargy.
If you are allergic to certain foods, be aware that some supplements contain ingredients from shellfish and other potential allergens, and you just don’t know how you’ll react to them. When it comes to supplements, be a well informed but causious consumer.

Herbals and supplements are not always safe, just because they are natural. Plants are poisonous, and they do not have to be tested by the FDA to meet specific qualifications. Herbals many contain certain drugs such as pollen that could cause sickness. There are certain products such as steroids estrogens that may contain toxic substances, suc has arsenic, mercury or lead.

If you have certain medical problems, taking herbals may cause adverse reactions and increase your risk of your initial health condition. You may experience blood clotting problems, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, enlarged prostate gland, high bloodpressure, immune system problems, psychiatric issues, thyriod problems and even cancer, just to mention a few!

Medications and Pregnancy… a woman should always check with her physician before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication when she is pregnant. All medications affect the fetus differently, depending on the stage of development, the type and dosage of the medication being taken, and the drug tolerance of the mother-to-be.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing its regulation of drugs for pregnant women. Unfortunately, there is little scientific information available about the effects of many medications on a pregnancy. Street drugs, over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs and some herbal preparations and medications can hurt your baby. Some can cause birth defects; others can cause your baby to be born too small or sick.

The March of Dimes is an excellent source of information. The March of Dimes does not support the use of herbal supplements by women capable of becoming pregnant, by pregnant women or by children, without approval by a health care provider. While some herbal ingredients have undergone extensive testing, the safety and effectiveness of many herbal supplements have not been demonstrated.

My review was but a small example of the many dangers of herbal use. I would suggest visiting the URLs provided and read for yourself, the pros and cons of herbals and supplements. You and you alone are responsible for your body and health. If you misuse drugs in any way and introduce foreign substances, you will have to pay the consequences. Be fair to yourself and be healthy.

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