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Dietary Herbs and Supplements: How do they Benefit Us?

Posted by on April 24th, 2018

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“Colorful Medication.” by freestocks.org via Unsplash, August 22, 2016, CCO.

Dietary herbs and supplements are commonly recommended to me by friends and family for nearly any health complaint I have.  A recent bout of insomnia brought an onslaught of recommendations and during my research I found some great information and an invaluable resource.

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) defines a dietary supplement as a product that is intended to supplement the diet.  The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health adds:

  • Contains one or more dietary ingredients (including vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and certain other substances) or their constituents
  • Is intended to be taken by mouth, in forms such as tablet, capsule, powder, softgel, gelcap, or liquid
  • Is labeled as being a dietary supplement.

A great resource to find out information about specific herbs and supplements is MedlinePlus.gov.  They have a complete list herbs and supplements and a wealth of information specific to each one.  All one has to do is click the name of the product they are interested in and the following information is available:
What is it?

  • How effective is it?
  • How does it work?
  • Are there safety concerns?
  • Are there interactions with medications?
  • Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
  • Are there interactions with food?
  • What dose is used?
  • Other names
  • Methodology
  • References

The next time you are thinking about starting a new herb or supplement recommended to you, make sure to check out this website.  It’s also commonly recommended that you consult your primary care physician.

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