Do Herbal Medicines Work?

Today lots of people are using herbal medicines to try and stay healthy. Herbal medicines are supplements that are easy to get at any drugstore, health food or natural food store, or online. 

In the past, there wasn’t much information available about what herbs would help keep you healthy or help fight common medication conditions but these days the Internet is full of information that anyone can access that will tell you what herbal supplements you should take for particular problems.

Herbal supplements are very popular with people that don’t believe in Western medicine, don’t have health insurance, or want to keep themselves healthy without taking a lot of drugs. Herbal supplements are in the process of becoming regulated to a certain extent by the FDA but until 2010 not all herbal supplements will have undergone any kind of testing process or regulation process.

Herbal medicine has been used by other cultures for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese medicine is based on a system of herbal supplements and tonics that are used to keep the body healthy. 

Ayurveda, the national health care system of India, is a herbal supplement based science that has been used for more than 2,000 years. 70% of India’s large population still uses Ayurvedic medicine in conjunction with Western medicine.

So do herbal supplements really help your health? Can you really fight off some medical problems or control medical conditions using herbs? Herbal supplements really do help your health and you can control certain conditions and fight illnesses using herbal supplements. 

The trick is finding the right herbal supplement and using it correctly. If you can do that then you can greatly improve your health using herbal supplements.

Herbal supplements are not appropriate for everyone because they can have side effects. In general herbal supplements shouldn’t be given to children or the very old because of health problems that might result from taking the herbs. But for most people, herbal supplements can be a relatively cheap and effective way to enjoy better health and stave off serious disease.

When you first start looking into using herbal supplements to help your health you might be overwhelmed because there is a lot to learn, and even though they are natural, plant-based supplements these products can hurt your health if you use them the wrong way. 

But don’t worry. Once you have learned the basics of herbal supplements you will be able to pick out at least a few herbal supplements that can really help your health.

Can You Treat Health Conditions Using Herbal Medicines?

There is some debate about whether or not using herbal supplements to treat common illnesses is healthy. Most medical experts agree that herbal supplements can be used to help certain medical conditions but there are some things that you should be cautious about when you’re using herbal supplements.

Keep these things in mind when you’re using herbal supplements to treat medical conditions:

Don’t assume that all herbal products are safe just because they’re on the market. 

There is currently no USDA oversight of herbs but there are groups that are dedicated to keeping herbal products safe. Look for products that have a seal of approval from ConsumerLab, Good Housekeeping, or NSF International because products with a seal from those groups have been checked for herbal content and safety.

Keep in mind that herbal products aren’t harmless just because they are natural. Herbal products can still have side effects that are harmful. 

If you have a medical condition that you’re taking medication for then you should always ask your doctor or ask a pharmacist before you start taking a herbal supplement or even a multivitamin to make sure that the drugs you’re taking won’t have a bad interaction with that particular supplement or vitamin. Drug interactions can sometimes be fatal so don’t take that chance.

Stay clear of combination products.

Herbal supplements that are combinations of herbs can sometimes be dangerous because the two herbs could interact with each other or with the medicine that you’re taking. Or you might be allergic to one and not the other. 

There are lots of ways that a multi-herb product can cause health problems so don’t take the chance. Buy herbal products that have one herb as the main ingredient.

Herbal products are not good for children.

Not many of the thousands of herbal supplements on the market have been tested on children so it’s not well known what side effects the herbal supplement might cause in children. If you really want to put your child on a herbal supplement check with your doctor first to be sure it’s safe.

I have also reviewed a lot of other dietary supplements, if you are interested, you might check them out.

Common Health Conditions That Herbal Supplements Can Help With

There are herbal supplements on the market that are geared towards many different illnesses and conditions, but these 5 common illnesses and conditions are commonly treated by people using herbal remedies that are available at the pharmacy or the natural food store.

#1. Depression

Depression is a very serious illness that affects millions of people throughout the world. Treating depression with prescription medications can be difficult because different people react differently to the medications that are commonly used to treat depression. 

There are usually severe side effects that accompany prescription depression medication that can include depression and suicidal thoughts.

Because of the problems that most people encounter taking prescription medication for depression, many people that are trying to alleviate their depression symptoms turn to herbal supplements. Some herbal supplements have been shown to be very effective when it comes to managing the symptoms of depression.

St. John’s Wort and Kava are two of the many herbal supplements that are usually recommended for treating depression and the anxiety and tension that often accompany depression. 

St. John’s Wort has been proven to help eliminate anxiety and is great for helping people maintain an even mood. Kava is usually used to promote relaxation and can also help get rid of anxiety and stress.

Ashwagandha may also have a calming effect on anxiety symptoms. In a 2000 study, the herb was shown to have an anxiety-reducing effect similar to lorazepam, suggesting ashwagandha might be just as good. This study, however, was conducted on mice instead of humans.

According to a study in humans conducted in 2019 researchers found that taking 240 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha per day greatly reduced stress levels. There was a reduction in cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone.

Ashwagandha is part of the ingredients in the popular supplement Resurge, which claims to help promote good sleep and support weight loss

Sleeping better can help reduce anxiety due to the multifaceted association between sleep and anxiety.

However, since the supplement industry is barely regulated, you might want to read some Resurge reviews before making any purchase of the supplement.

#2. PMDD

PMDD is a disorder that millions of women suffer from but that many women don’t know they have. PMDD, or Pre-Menstrual Dysmorphic Disorder, mimics the symptoms of PMS but the symptoms are extreme. Some women who have very serious PMDD may even hallucinate or start hearing voices. 

PMDD is caused by a hormonal shift that occurs during ovulation. Women suffering from PMDD experience pain, fatigue, cramping, and also extreme irritability and sadness.

Doctors have found that very few drugs are effective at treating PMDD although there is one birth control pill that has proven to be fairly effective at managing the symptoms of PMDD. 

Since the symptoms and the severity of the condition are different for every woman it’s been hard for doctors to find a way to treat PMDD. There is a supplement, 5-HTP, that has been proven to effectively manage the symptoms of PMDD.

5-HTP, the same amino acid that is recommended as a weight-loss tool, can also help eliminate the symptoms of PMDD. 

Regular doses of 5-HTP will help stimulate the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. When there are more neurotransmitters in the brain the hormone levels will begin to regulate so that the extreme symptoms of PMDD will go away.

3. Colds

During the fall and winter, it’s very hard to avoid getting a cold or the flu. Even though there are flu shots that you can get to help ward off the flu, most people are on their own when it comes to dealing with a cold. 

Luckily, herbal supplements can be very effective at warding off colds and the flu and other illnesses that people pick up during the year.

There is no prescription medicine or herb that can keep you from getting a cold but there are herbal remedies that you can use to supercharge your own immune system so that your body can fight off the cold or the flu naturally. 

Herbal supplements like Echinacea have been used for hundreds of years to kick start the body’s own disease-fighting cells and help the body protect itself from illness. The best herbal supplements to take to fight off colds and the flu are Echinacea, Goldenseal, Zinc and Vitamin C.

4. Arthritis

Arthritis can be a very serious problem for people. Anytime you have a chronic condition like Arthritis the best way to treat it is to manage the symptoms on a continual basis so that you don’t have too many flare-ups. When the symptoms flare up it’s really too late to do anything to stop the pain so it’s better to manage the disease and try to prevent those flare-ups.

Because Arthritis pain comes from inflammation, taking herbal supplements that will fight inflammation and increase the flexibility of the soft tissue around the joints is the best way to avoid a flare-up. There are lots of herbal supplements that you can take that have been proven in scientific studies to help people manage their Arthritis.

SAM-e, a natural chemical found in the body, used to be prescribed to Arthritis patients in Europe to help them manage their Arthritis. You can buy SAM-e in just about any pharmacy in non-prescription strength. You can also try taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements that are useful for keeping the joints from being inflamed and sore. A teaspoon per day of Apple 

Cider Vinegar also can help manage Arthritis. Some people that suffer from Arthritis report that

Aloe Vera juice taken daily is a great way to reduce inflammation in your joints.

5. Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disorders that result from either an under-active or overactive thyroid can be very hard to treat with prescription medicine. Often thyroid problems go undiagnosed until they have become unmanageable or until the disorder has gotten to a very serious stage. If you have thyroid problems but aren’t on prescription medication there are herbal supplements that can help regulate the thyroid.

5-HTP, which is also used for PMDD, can help regulate the thyroid. Other herbal supplements that are often used to support thyroid health are Black Walnut, Ginseng, and Kelp. Kelp has a lot of amino acids and trace minerals in it which help the thyroid and can also help you lose weight if you are gaining weight because of an under-active thyroid.

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