Not all herbs and supplements are safe, especially if you have certain medical conditions or take some drugs. Find out which ones you may need to skip. An herbal health product or supplement (also called a botanical product) is a type of dietary supplement that contains one or more herbs. Patients need education about the potential pitfalls of taking herbal supplements.
Supplement? What Herbal is a
It is an online database that gives label information for thousands of dietary supplements. You can look up supplements by brand name, active ingredient, or manufacturer. If you do use an herbal health product or supplement, read the directions on the label to learn how much to take and how often to take it. You should never take more than the recommended amount. If you have any questions about how much to take, ask your doctor. Store all herbal health products and supplements up and away, out of reach and sight of young children.
Do no store them in a place that is hot and humid for example, a bathroom or bathroom cabinet. Keeping these products in a cool, dry place will help keep them from becoming less effective before their expiration date. This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone.
Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject. Some dietary supplements can cause interactions with prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Learn which ones you should watch out for. OTC is short for "over-the-counter. Visit The Symptom Checker. OTC Relief for Diarrhea. OTC Relief for Congestion. How to Use Them Correctly. Antacids and Acid Reducers: What are herbal health products and supplements?
Are herbal health products and supplements safe? Are herbal health products and supplements regulated by the U. Is it safe to take herbal health products and supplements if I have health problems? Can herbal health products or supplements change the way OTC or prescription medicines work?
How can I find out what is in herbal health products and supplements? The FDA requires the following information on labels: Name of the product or supplement Name of the address of the manufacturer or distributor Complete list of ingredients Amount of product or supplement in the container or package Avoid any herbal health product or supplement that does not list this information.
How can I use herbal health products or supplements safely? How can I safely store herbal health products and supplements? Accessed August 11, U. Food and Drug Administration. Like prescription medicines, herbs can have benefits. However, like prescriptions, they can also have unwanted side effects, cause drug interactions and possibly create surgical problems.
Many herbs have drug-like effects on the body. The many chemical components in herbal products may have varied strengths based on plant genetics, plant parts and growing conditions.
Herbs have many components that may also work together differently based on harvesting, processing or packaging. Contamination also can take place during production. For example, heavy metals have been found in some Asian herbal products.
Even herbs that are generally safe can be dangerous or have side effects under the wrong conditions. For instance, herbs can act together with anesthesia or other medicines commonly used in surgery or affect the operation itself, causing surgical complications.
Drug-herb interactions unrelated to surgery are also common. Many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects and are not safe for everyone. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA , roughly 15 million adults are at risk for possible adverse interactions between prescription medicines and herbs or high dose vitamins.
More than adverse events related to supplements have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration FDA , including deaths. Making Informed Decisions and Evaluating Information. Checking with your doctor before taking a supplement is a good idea, especially for certain people.
Dietary supplements including herbs may not be risk-free under certain circumstances. If you are pregnant, nursing a baby or have a chronic medical condition such as diabetes, hypertension or heart disease consult your doctor or pharmacist before purchasing or taking any supplement.
While vitamin and mineral supplements are widely used and generally considered safe for children, you may wish to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving these or any other dietary supplement to your child.
If you plan to use a dietary supplement in place of drugs or together with any drug, tell your health care provider first. If you have certain health conditions and take these products, you may be placing yourself at risk. Bring your herbal or other dietary supplements with you to doctor visits. Your health care provider can review your supplements with you and tell you about any possible problems or risks. Combining supplements or using supplements together with medicines prescription or over-the-counter could under certain circumstances produce undesirable effects, some life-threatening.
Be alert to warnings about these products, whether taken alone or in combination. For example, Coumadin a prescription medicine , gingko biloba an herb , aspirin an over-the-counter drug and vitamin E a vitamin can each thin the blood, and taking any of these products together can increase the potential for internal bleeding.
Some dietary supplements can have unwanted effects during surgery. It is important to tell your doctor about vitamins, minerals, herbs or any other supplements you are taking, especially before surgery. Elderly people should not take herbs without the approval of a doctor. It is a good idea for everyone to check with their health care provider before taking dietary supplements. Take time to study about your supplements so you know about them and can avoid problems.
Adverse effects from using dietary supplements should be reported to MedWatch the program for reporting problems with FDA-regulated products. You, your health care provider, or anyone may report a serious adverse event or illness to the FDA if you believe it is related to the use of any dietary supplement product. The FDA would like to know when you think a product caused a serious problem, even if you are not sure that the product was the cause or do not visit a doctor or clinic.
This list is a sample and does not contain all herbs that may cause the listed or other conditions or hazards. All herb use should be approved by a health care provider. Who is responsible for safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements?
By law, manufacturers of dietary supplements are responsible for making sure their products are safe before they go to market. They are also responsible for making sure that the claims on their labels are accurate and truthful. The government does not review dietary supplements before they are marketed, but the FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe supplement product that reaches the market. When searching the Web for information on dietary supplements, try using directory sites of respected organizations rather than blind searches with a search engine.
Ask yourself these questions:. Who operates the site? Is the information written or reviewed by qualified health professionals, experts in the field, academic world, government or the medical community? What is the purpose of the site? Is the purpose of the site to objectively educate the public or just to sell a product?
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Herbal supplements, sometimes called botanicals, are one type of dietary supplement available for purchase. Herbal supplements aren't new. Check out this guide to anti-inflammatory herbs, vitamins, and supplements for rheumatoid arthritis. Find out what works and what doesn't. Herbal supplements are non-pharmaceutical, non-food substances marketed to improve health. Herbalism (herbal medicine, botanical medicine) is the use of.