Feb 18, 2014

Feeling overwhelmed by the options?

Taking the guess work out of choosing an herbal supplement.

As we become more and more aware of what we put into our body these days, people have begun to question the sense of processed and refined products. Are we losing valuable benefits? Are things being added that actually harm, rather than help us? 

Getting to know the products you and your family use on a daily basis is not restricted to granola bars and laundry detergent. Herbal supplements are becoming increasingly popular as a way to improve well being naturally.  One might easily think that because a supplement is made of herbs, it couldn’t get much more natural.  However, just like many other products claiming to be ‘natural’, there are often hidden ingredients or fillers that can do more bad than good.

The following are a few basic tips to keep in mind when choosing an herbal supplement:

Product Purity

Just like the food you buy, be sure to take a peek at the list of ingredients. Stay away from supplements that contain any unpronounceable additives, fillers or preservatives.  Another common sense key to how beneficial the product is: how long is the ingredient list? As with most of the things you put in your body, choose the one with the shortest, most recognizable list of ingredients.

Where did it all begin?

In other words, what was it before it was made into a supplement? How much of it is natural plant matter? Kathy Garber, herbalist and founder of Mountain Meadow Herbs often asks the question, “Is it a food I would place on the dinner table? A good example is Coral Calcium. We don’t cook and eat coral reef, so taking coral calcium as a supplement doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Heat, chemicals, contaminants, oh my!

What was the process of making the supplement? Was excessive heat used?            
Was it tested for contaminates such as heavy metals? Was there a large amount of processing that went into the production of the pill, tonic, or patch? In short, the brand name should be a trusted one, willing to share this information with the consumer.

Are you my mother?

How different is the supplement from the plants that it originally came from? Most herbs contain beneficial compounds that complement each other, and can aid in their effectiveness. “For example, whole Milk Thistle seed would be a better choice over one that contains a certain percentage of slymarin,” explains Garber, “as there may be components within the whole Milk Thistle that make it more beneficial”.

DO judge a book by it’s cover

Like any other product we put into our body, it is important to pay attention to the packaging it comes in. Many plastics contain chemicals such as BPA, which is known to disrupt estrogen levels, possibly cause cancer, and lead to brain and behavioral problems.  A glass container is generally a safe bet when choosing a supplement.

Does it work for YOU?

The ultimate test is simply a personal trial and error. Everyone’s body respond differently, so what works for someone else, may not have the same or as intense of an effect on you. Try a product and ask yourself, did the product make a difference in 1-3 months? Did it live up to the results the brand promised? If not, than perhaps it is not the right product for your needs.

No comments:

Post a Comment