Herbal supplements are not an uncommon sight in many homes around the world.  This is partly because they are made from natural products and that people believe that they don’t carry dangerous side effects which can put a person’s health in grave danger.

But since herbal supplements can reach the market without submitting proofs of its health benefits to the Food and Drug Administration, it would be necessary for us to do our part to verify their claims to ensure that they are effective and safe.

It would not be enough to just believe what they say on their product labels.  As wise consumers, we should look for research-based evidence to prove a product’s claims.  This can help to ensure that we get what we pay for.  Here are some safety precautions that you should consider before using herbal supplements:

1. Talk to your doctor.

Your doctor may not have enough knowledge about a particular supplement, but he might be able to refer you to the latest medical guidance about its uses and possible risks.

2. Ask the manufacturer.

If you want additional information about a specific herbal product, the best way to get it is to contact the product manufacturer or distributor.  Somebody in that company should be able to substantiate its product’s claims.

These are two of the most important things that you need to consider to ensure your safety before using herbal supplements.

But even if they are considered natural and generally safe, there are certain precautions that you should follow before using herbal supplements. Caution on the use of herbal supplements is advised especially if you belong to any of the following:

1. You have health issues which could be adversely affected by herbal supplements.

2. You are under medication.  Some herbs can cause a serious complication when mixed with blood thinning drugs blood pressure medications.

3. You are a pregnant or breast-feeding woman.  Herbal supplements may be safe for adults but they can be harmful to breast-fed infants and fetuses.

4. You are scheduled for a surgical operation.

Some herbal supplements can reduce the potency of anesthesia and some may cause bleeding, high blood pressure and other risky side effects.

5. You are under 18 years old or over 65 years old.

If you belong to any of the above conditions and you want to use herbal supplements, you should talk to your doctor first.  It’s good to always be on the safe side if your health is at stake.

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