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February 23, 2008 at 1:50 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Natural Herbal Weight Loss: An Overview

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

There are many benefits to medicinal herbs, and more and more people are looking to herbs as healthy alternatives to prescription medications, which often have serious side effects. There are some important factors to keep in mind when choosing herbal remedies; these are outlined below.

Herbs: Early Medicine

Centuries before scientists and researchers were isolating specific properties of compounds to use to treat the ill, midwives, witch doctors, Chinese herbalists, and many more were using herbs to cure the sick. Herbs are, in fact, the original medicine. Many compounds today have even been derived from specific ingredients in herbs. Herbal remedies have been passed down through time generation by generation; we have even discovered ancient medicinal texts full of remedies.

Herbs Today

Today, herbs are treated in a much different matter than before. While many natural health stores sell herbs and herb blends to treat various conditions, there are many other companies trying to sell a "miracle cure" for almost any ailment. As with any other consumer decision, the responsibility lies with the consumer; it is up to you to decide the validity of the claims and the usefulness of the product.

Herbs and Weight Loss

There are many herbs out there that can help a person lose weight. Some work by suppressing the appetite, some by "burning fat". Whatever the herb, be sure to follow the instructions exactly, and consult your doctor if you are taking any other medications.

The FDA and Herbs

Remember, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbs or vitamin supplements. Be sure to check thoroughly the ingredients of the product; you'll need to know the scientific name of the ingredients to ensure you're getting what you paid for. Some supplements will carry a seal of approval by the United States Pharmacopoeia, or USP. You can also search as ConsumerLab.com or SupplementWatch.com for specific product or ingredient information.

Dosage

It is also important to ensure you are taking the appropriate dose of the supplement. While many people are inclined to consume as much as they can of a supplement, it is important to strictly follow the dosing instructions. Just as with prescription medication, it can be dangerous to overdose on herbs and supplements. Too much can be toxic. Dosing may differ depending on age, health condition, and sex. Often, women require small doses of supplements than men do and children, even less.

Talk to Your Doctor

It's so important to talk to your doctor before beginning supplement use or if you have already been using one. A common misconception about herbs is that they won't interfere with other medications. This is, in fact, not true. Many herbs can and do interfere with prescription medication, rendering both useless. Talk with your doctor as soon as you can if you are taking other medications. Many herbs are not safe for pregnant, nursing, or women planning on becoming pregnant. These women should consult a doctor before beginning and herbal treatments.

Warning Signs

If you are using an herbal supplement, pay attention to your body's reaction in the first few weeks. Note any changes or side effects the herb may have on your body. If you begin feeling ill, light headed or experience any unusual symptom, it is best to stop using the herb and see your doctor immediately. Herbs can be safe and effective when used properly. However, due to potential drug interactions, it is important to consult a doctor before beginning any herbal treatments.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/10-best-healing-herbs

http://www.consumerlab.com/

http://www.supplementwatch.com/

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