Debunking the 12 Biggest Myths About Herbal Supplements
We live in an age where information is at our fingertips.
But not all information is created equal. And if we’re not careful, the wrong information can get us into trouble.
The world of herbal supplements is no exception. Today we’re debunking the biggest myths about herbal supplements so you can take your health into your hands.
Let’s dive in!
Myth #1. Herbal Supplements Aren’t Backed By Research
Many see herbal medicine as a thing of the past or part of ancient rituals. Conventional medical professionals go to school to learn pharmaceutical drugs, and may not be familiar with natural plants, their uses, or benefits.
The truth is herbs have undergone years of clinical research. From the bark of trees to the roots of plants, many herbal ingredients have overcome the skepticism of medical professionals and are gaining recognition for their healing properties (1).
Myth #2. Supplements Can Replace a Healthy Diet
It may be tempting to think that taking a few antioxidant or fiber capsules means you can skip out on eating leafy greens for dinner. After all, you’re getting the nutrition from the supplement, right?
Herbal supplements are designed to help fill in nutritional gaps in your diet. This means you still need to be eating a variety of foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and more (2).
Fresh, organic foods also become your body’s first (and often best) source of nutrients, whereas supplements may lose nutritional value through processing and manufacturing.
Myth #3. Herbal Supplements are FDA Approved
Back in 1938, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FDC) Act was passed. This law required prescription medications to undergo testing for safety and effectiveness before it was allowed to be released to the public (3).
Herbal supplements don’t fall into this category, so the FDA doesn’t currently have any legal support to make sure products are regulated which makes it even more important to ensure you are buying from a reputable brand.
Myth #4. People Don’t Need Supplements
Many in the medical community agree that eating a well-balanced diet provides all the vitamins and minerals you need to live a healthy life.
While a good diet should be your first source of nutrients, mismanagement of farming and agricultural practices are leaving the soil depleted of nutrients (4). This creates a ripple effect, meaning the food we eat isn’t replenishing us as it once did.
High-quality supplements can be a great way to nourish your body in ways diet alone can’t.
Myth #5. Herbal Supplements Do What They Claim
Because of the lack of regulation, many joke that the herbal supplement world is a “Wild West”.
This can be true in some ways. Unethical companies may claim their product provide specific health benefits, but in reality customers are no better off.
How can you prevent this? Check customer reviews, look up the dosage of the ingredients listed, and look for Third-Party Testing certifications (5).
Myth #6. There’s No Such Thing As Too Many Vitamins
Vitamins and minerals make up a large part of your health, but too many can do more harm than good.
Herbal supplements are made from plant parts, which contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and compounds that interact with our bodies on a deep level. While they are natural, taking too many can lead to negative side effects, and possibly toxicity (6).
Myth #7. Supplements are Natural, So They’re Safe
Herbal medicine is designed to help your body maintain health and mitigate illness using different parts of the plant. And while nature has given us modern medications like aspirin and morphine, some plants can cause harm or even death (7).
It is always best to consult your medical professional before starting a new supplement.
Myth #8. Herbal Supplements Won’t Interfere with Medication
Tailing on the belief that natural automatically means safe, some people believe that herbal remedies won’t have any effects on prescription medication.
This is false and can be dangerous if you mix the wrong herbs with the wrong medication. Those with diabetes shouldn’t take fenugreek, and those who are on narcotics or sedatives should stay away from melatonin (8).
Again, it is always best to consult your medical professional before beginning a new product.
Myth #9. Herbal Supplements Are the Same As Homeopathy
While both therapies use plants, there are major differences between the two.
Homeopathy is based on the Principle of Similars, or “like cures like”. It uses diluted substances from plant, mineral, or animal products that mimic symptoms of disease in order to stimulate a self-healing response in the body. Herbal medicine, on the other hand, uses whole parts or plant extracts to maintain health or treat diseases (9, 10).
Myth #10. Because Herbal Supplements are Natural, There Are No Side Effects
Similar to the idea that natural automatically means safe, many believe that herbal supplements have no side effects.
This is simply untrue. Plant compounds interact with our bodies on cellular levels, and taking too much of a natural substance can lead to unpleasant feelings of (11):
- Dry Mouth
- Rapid heartbeat
- Allergic reactions
Myth #11. Supplement Labels are Completely Accurate
Because supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, companies aren’t under strict manufacturing protocols that ensure that everything in the bottle is reflected on the label.
This means many herbal supplements may have fillers or added ingredients that aren’t on the label and don’t offer any additional benefit (12). How can you avoid this? The best way to avoid this is to check Third-Party Testing.
Myth #12. Herbal Supplements are Expensive
You don’t have to pay top dollar to benefit from herbal medicine. The good news is that different formulations give you more options. Many teas, tinctures, and capsules can be made at home with fresh or dried herbs.
But this route can be more time-consuming, and you either pay with your time or your money. Finding a high-quality supplement company saves you time while helping you stay healthy.
Your health is an investment, not an expense. In comparison to some conventional medications, herbal supplements are more affordable and comparably effective (13).
Herbal medicine has been around for thousands of years and has recently made a comeback in the world of health and wellness.
There are a lot of opinions and thoughts on the benefits and risks associated with supplements, which is why it’s important to do your research.
If you have a health concern you want to address, talk with a functional medicine practitioner or nutritionist. They can answer your questions and help you make the best choices for your health.
We’re grateful to be able to improve the lives of hundreds of people with quality products that bring results! Head over to the KaraMD Shop (14) to find the perfect herbal supplement for you!
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author