Many people are now turning toward organics and naturals, otherwise known as herbals. The rising popularity of herbal supplements has created a new fad, i not a new lifestyle. But before you jump on the bandwagon, here are some things you should know.

1 – What is the difference between a drug and a dietary supplement?

Herbal supplements are not classified as drugs, but as dietary supplements. The main difference is that they don’t have approved therapeutic claims. Also, dietary supplements could contain vitamins, minerals, herbals, or amino acids, all with the goal of supplementing your diet. They’re not intended to be taken as a substitute for any food or medicine.

Most of the manufactured medicines we now have once came from plants and animals. Over the years, chemists isolated the key components and separated them from the harmful components. This led to further drug development from synthetic sources. But we still have semi-synthetic drugs as well, and drugs that more-or-less approximate more natural composition.

2 – Is there a growing concern around the use of herbal supplements?

Yes, largely as a result of fake herbal supplements that have flooded the market and can endanger lives.

3 – Is using herbal supplements still worth the risk?

They can be! Many that use them experience an improvement in overall health. Just be sure to follow some best practices:

Be sure you’re purchasing the herbal supplements from a reputable source.

Check with your doctor before using anything. Ask if a particular supplement is safe for you personally to use, given your health condition.

Follow the indicated directions for use. Never take more than what the directions indicate, or than your doctor tells you to take. Everyone’s body reacts slightly differently to the components of herbal supplements.

Finally, remember to never substitute herbal supplements for medications prescribed by your doctor.

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