Although using herbal supplements to improve your health may sound very “New Age,” the concept is in fact thousands of years old. Before traditional medicine, all manner of herbs were used in teas, poultices, tinctures and other mixtures to treat just about any health issue. With careful scrutiny and professional guidance, you can use herbal supplements to boost your health, as well.
The types of herbal supplements you should be taking depends on your age, gender, overall health and any pre-existing conditions you may have. Some herbs are used for very specific purposes, while others may be to give your body a generalized boost. Since herbal supplements are not as heavily regulated as medications by the FDA, it is important to do your research ahead of time so that you are really benefiting from herbs.
First, evaluate your health situation. Do you have any specific conditions that need to be addressed? These conditions can be anything from diabetes and heart disease to cancers, hereditary conditions, mental illnesses, pregnancy or even obesity. Herbal supplements can be extremely beneficial to your health if they are used properly. If not, they may only do damage and can even interact negatively with any over-the-counter or prescription medications you’re taking.
Second, figure out why you want to take herbal supplements. You should have a specific reason, so that you can get the most benefit from what you take. For example, rather than wanting to simply “improve your health,” do you want to boost your energy levels, bolster your immune system, target a skin condition, improve your fertility, stop smoking or lower your cholesterol? Once you’ve decided what you want to target with your herbal supplements, you can begin looking for one to take.
Finally, do your research. If you are taking any medications, have any medical conditions or are pregnant/breastfeeding, consult your doctor first for the go-ahead to take herbals. When you have the okay to do so, begin researching manufacturers and what they offer. When you find a supplement, look for the dosage and the active ingredient. This is what is most potent in the supplement and will most affect your health.
Once you’ve decided on a supplement, do not take more than the recommended dose and keep track of what you’re taking. You can also increase the herb’s effectiveness by making good lifestyle choices, such as committing to a healthy diet and/or exercising regularly. Herbals should only be supplements, not replacements for healthy living, but with caution, anyone can enjoy the benefits of Earth’s natural offerings.