How to Read a Label of Herbal Medicine
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How to Read a Label of Herbal Medicine

Although current regulations prevent herbal manufacturers from making specific health clams on the label, there is still much that a smart consumer can learn from reading carefully. Here are some important factors to look for when making your purchase.
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Buying standardized products is the best guarantee that an herbal remedy contains what it’s supposed to contain in amounts sufficient to produce a desired effect. The term standardized on the label means that the herb’s active compound, or compounds that act as markers for general plant activity, have been identified and that the product has been tested to ensure a certain amount of these constituents are present.

How to Read a Label

Although current regulations prevent herbal manufacturers from making specific health clams on the label, there is still much that a smart consumer can learn from reading carefully. Here are some important factors to look for when making your purchase.

Look for products made from fresh rather than dried herbs.

Look for the standardized as your best bet that the product contains a measured amount of the herb’s active constituents. The label should give the reference compound and its content per dose.

If the product is not standardized, check for the Latin name on the label to make sure you’re getting the correct plant. The common term ginseng, for example, can refer to several different plants, each with different therapeutic properties. Of course, there’s no guarantee except for the manufacturer’s reputation that the plant described on the label is the plant that’s in the bottle.

Check the price. While it’s a good idea to do some comparison shopping, remember that cheaper is not necessarily a bargain. I would be wary of the manufacturer’s offering 90 ginseng capsules for $3 if the typical price is $30.

Look at the expiration date to make sure the product is fresh. Companies assign these dates themselves in a somewhat arbitrary manner, but the date should provide at least some clue as to whether those stinging nettle capsules on the shelf are likely to still be effective.

Look at the dosage size to see how many capsules you have to take per day. If you have to take 10 capsules a day of low-dose product to achieve an effect, keep that in mind as you calculate the cost.

If you’re a vegetarian or have food allergies, check the contents to make sure they do not contain animal by-products such as gelatin or possible allergens such as artificial preservatives or colorings.

Take the manufacturer’s claims that you do encounter with a grain of salt. Remember that, unlike the claims for pharmaceutical drugs, these have not been approved and validated by the FDA.

 

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Comments (4)

Glad to see you again here! :-)

You have pin pointed the valuable ideas for herbal treatments with label reading.Promoted

Outstanding work.

Great tips - I always try to use fresh rather than dried but it's often not so easy.... voted up!

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