Monday, March 30, 2009

'Natural' Products are Not Always Safe

March 30, 2009 9:01 pm

'Natural' Products are Not Always Safe

Many herbs have a long history of use and of claimed health benefits. An herb, or botanical, is a plant or part of a plant that is used for its scent, flavor, and/or therapeutic properties. Although they are so-called 'natural', herbal products are not necessarily safe or without harmful effects. They may come from plants, but many plants are considered harmful and poisonous.
Unlike prescription medicines, herbal products are not tested to certify their safety and efficacy before their marketing. Active ingredients in many herbal medicines and supplements are still unknown. Some have been found contaminated with metals, unlabeled prescription drugs, microorganisms or other substances.
Since herbal products are not tested, they may cause certain health problems/complications. It may not be wise to take herbal products if you have any of these medical problems/conditions:

• High blood pressure
• Thyroid problems
• Parkinson's disease
• Blood-clotting problems
• Diabetes
• Heart disease
• Epilepsy
• Depression or psychiatric problems
• Liver problems
• Enlarged prostrate gland
• Glaucoma
• History of stroke or organ transplant

Women who are pregnant or nursing should be especially cautious about using herbal products, as well as with people who are about to have surgery. Always check with your health care provider.
It is likewise important to consult with your doctor before using herbal products if you are taking any medications (whether prescription or over-the-counter). Some herbal products are known to interact with medications in ways that may pose risks to your health.