10 Tips on Taking Herbal Supplements for Beginners
Do you wish to improve your general health and well-being? Are you looking for something natural compared to the drugs you’re currently taking? Then herbal supplements are likely the answer.
Though there is an ongoing debate between proponents of herbal or alternative medicine and conventional drugs, one thing is certain: people from around the world continue to patronize herbal supplements.
They also continue to report various herbal supplement benefits. Some of these supplements may even help the body fight off viruses like the current outbreak.
But despite these bright spots, you need to be careful when taking herbal supplements. But what are these essential reminders every newbie should understand?
Continue reading below for 10 important tips on taking herbal supplements for beginners.
1. Align With What You Need
Regardless of the popularity of herbal medicine, your safety should always be paramount before you try anything. Thus, you need to determine the herbal supplements that you truly need.
What kinds of herbal supplements should you look for? The answer lies in your current health needs. Even if there are supplements for all-around use, you want to buy something that you will benefit the most.
For example, there are herbs that you can use for pain management. This is good since most people feel certain kinds of pains every once in a while. But if pain management is not your need, then find an herb that focuses more on your health requirements.
If you are recovering from an injury, use herbal supplements that hasten recoveries. The key is always to consider your condition.
2. Prepare With Caution
One of the best things about herbal medicine is that you can grow some of them at home. Hence, you can also prepare them yourself.
However, you need to prepare these supplements with utmost caution. The key to preparing herbs depends on the type of herbs that you have. And the effectiveness of certain herbs depends on the way you prepare them.
When it comes to preparing the herbs, there are different methods out there. One of the most popular ones is through an infusion. This involves combining the herbs with boiling water and steeping them afterward.
Another is cold extraction, which uses cold water to preserve the herbs’ key ingredients and nutrients. Here, you will only extract small amounts of bitter principles and mineral salts.
And if you’re a fan of juicing, you can also use your trusty juicer for your herbs. Chop and press the fresh herbs to create the juice. Thereafter, add a small amount of water and give them another round of pressing.
The key is to drink the juice immediately.
Regardless of the preparation methods you use, you need to ensure the cleanliness of the area. Also, the hygiene of your tools is a must.
3. What Should You Avoid?
Another important tip is knowing which ones to avoid. In the world of herbal supplements, there is what we call “proprietary blends.”
The problem with taking supplements bearing these words is that they do not tell you the exact amounts of herbs that come with the products.
Because of this, there is no way for you to find out if you’re getting the exact dosages that you need. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take supplements with proprietary blends. Instead, you need to make sure you’re buying from trusted sources.
Also, avoid supplements that do not work well with certain conventional medications. Learn about how certain herbs interact with medications. If you’re currently on medications, check if the herbal medicine you are planning to take does not interact negatively.
Some herbal supplements may cause side-effects if you mix them with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. These OTC drugs include blood thinners and aspirins.
Also, consult with your doctor first if you’re about to go through surgery. Ask if the herbal supplements are safe for you.
4. Always Check the Labels
Just like when taking conventional drugs, always check the labels of the herbal supplement before taking them. Whether you get your supplements from a physical store or an online shop, you need to read the label to the dot.
Thankfully, the FDA enforces rules as to what manufacturers need to put in their products’ labels. All labels must include the name of the herbal supplement and a complete list of ingredients.
The labels should also indicate the name and address of the manufacturer. Also, you should see details on the active ingredient, size, and serving size.
Additionally, you should look at the dosage, manufacturing date, and expiration date of the supplements. If the labels miss any of these, have second thoughts about buying the products.
If there is something you don’t understand in the label, don’t hesitate to ask your medical practitioner for guidance.
5. The St. John’s Wort Conundrum
It’s also important to touch on one of the most popular herbal supplements out there: the St. John’s Wort (SJW). It is an herbal medicine that comes from the Hypericum perforatum plant.
It’s the plant’s flowers that manufacturers turn into capsules, teas, and extracts. If we study the history of SJW, people from the past use it to manage a myriad of health issues.
Some of its most popular uses include managing depression and insomnia. People also use it to hasten wound healing. Others use it to treat lung and kidney diseases.
But despite its promising qualities, its long-term safety remains in question. Some studies note that prolonged use of SJW may lead to confusion and dizziness. It may also result in allergic reactions.
And in some cases, mixing it with certain medications may lead to fatal consequences.
6. Be Cautious of Claims
With so many companies offering herbal supplements, some will try to woo the public through exaggerated claims. Hence, be cautious of claims that sound too good to be true.
For example, if a product claims it can help you lose 10 pounds in three days, then it is only out for your money.
Also, health supplements are not medicines. Hence, they cannot claim that their product can heal. Instead, they should say that their products can aid healing.
7. Approvals Matter
Apart from the ingredients and dosage, it is a must that you look for the seal of approval. You want the herbal supplements to meet the minimum standards of the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) of the FDA.
Having this approval means the product went through rigid manufacturing standards. This ensures the quality, strength, purity, of the supplements.
And if the seal isn’t enough, research the manufacturer. Find out how they manufacture the supplements.
8. Do Your Research on the Herb
Since you are new to herbal medicine, you need to do your research and due diligence on herbs in general. Even if this sounds tedious on your part, it will yield benefits in the long run.
Read up on the most popular herbs people use to manage health problems. Find out where they come from and how manufacturers turn them into pills, capsules, and syrups.
If you want objective information, check the research of the government and universities. This way, you will have a fair guide as to which herbs will work best for you.
9. They Are Not Food Substitutes
Since they are supplements, it means they cannot cure illnesses on their own. Instead, they may assist in your health and well-being.
In the same manner, they are not substitutes for real food. They may contain qualities of the food that you need, but they cannot replace the latter as a whole.
Even if the FDA classifies them as “food,” they are not enough to provide all the nutrients with your body needs. Additionally, supplements work well with your regular diet and exercise.
10. Always Consult Your Doctor
Last but not least, always consult your doctor before, during, and after you take herbal supplements. Even if you don’t have a health condition, talk to your trusted doctor about the supplement you are looking to try.
Ask for their opinion regarding the safety and efficacy of the supplements.
If you are pregnant or lactating, some herbs may not do well for you and your baby. Hence, get a green light from your doctor before taking anything.
Also, reporting any side-effects to your doctor is crucial. If you feel any weird feeling after taking the supplements, stop taking it for now and talk to your doctor ASAP.
Keep in mind that at the end of the day, it is your safety that is paramount.
Enjoy the Best Herbal SupplementsToday!
Herbal supplements are, no doubt, helpful in reaching certain health goals. As long as you know which ones to take and how to take them properly, you can enjoy their many benefits that will aid your long-term health. And if you’re searching for a source you can trust, then you came to the right place.
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