1. Herbal Formulas are designed to treat the whole body, not just the symptoms.
Most Western medications works because they give you quick relief from symptoms but often do nothing for the underlying root problem. You can treat the root of the problem with herbal medicine rather than just treating symptoms. You’ll start feeling better from the inside out when you treat the whole body. The definition of disease (DIS-ease) is: an abnormal condition of the body causing discomfort or dysfunction. Disease usually happens slowly over an extended period of time and a complete recovery can take just as long if not longer, quick fixes often don’t work because that is not how our bodies works.
2. Herbal Formulas are effective.
Imagine how much more enjoyable life would be if you simply had more energy, a clearer head and a relaxed body. Look at the thousands of studies on pubmed.com that have been done on plant based medicine to prove time tested results are more than coincidence for diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, menstrual irregularities, migraines, the list is endless.
3. Herbs have a proven track record.
Herbal Medicine is the main medicine for over 80% of the world’s population and has a long established record of effectiveness. Chinese herbal medicine has written documentation going back to 200 AD. Asian cultures have used this plant-based medicine or medicinal herbs for thousands of years and have an inherent understanding of their healing qualities. In fact, many Chinese dishes are made with herbs for medicinal value, for example to enhance digestion, warm the body during cold weather or cool the body during hot weather.
4. Herbs are 100% Natural.
Our biochemistry has evolved over millions of years with plants as our main source of food, so we are naturally compatible with medicinal herbs. Herbal medicines inherently have the same chemical structures that built your body in the first place. Allkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, saponins and more are all found in natural plants. These are the chemical structures your body needs to repair itself.
5. Herbs are cost effective.
Herbal supplements are the best investment you can make in yourself. They are far less expensive than prescription medication and their greatest savings comes from the prevention of long term illness. The western standard for disease- if you’re not sick, you’re healthy – should not be the measurement of one’s health.
6. Herbs are synergistic; they work with the body’s natural immune system.
Many herbs, like ginseng, for example, are all in one, immune-stimulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-oxidant. Herbal formulas often work on multiple organ systems to improve overall health. No prescription drug can do that.
This week is another important milestone for the Dietary Supplement industry. June 25, 2009 is the deadline the FDA (Food & Drug Assoc) has given for medium sized companies, (those with more than 20 employees) to comply with cGMP or Current Good Manufacturing Practices. What this means to the consumer is another step closer to more consistency in over the counter herbal supplements and all dietary supplement. The cGMP regulations protect the consumer by providing standards for ensuring purity, identity and strength of composition for each product produced.
All told it’s taken 14 years to get to this point. The FDA made allowances for smaller businesses to comply giving them an additional 3 years if they had less than 500 employees. Companies with greater than 500 employees were required to comply one year ago, June 2008. Finally, those companies with fewer than 20 employees have an additional year to comply with the new regulations, until June 2010.
The best producers in the dietary supplement industry have been complying with the FDA regulations for years and these regulations have no major effect on them. Now the smaller companies need to comply, bringing standardization in the supplement industry. Most likely it will also give third party certification companies an even more important role, proving to the consumer that products truly contain the amount of supplements listed on their label. No doubt manufacturer will begin putting pressure on their suppliers to give proof of the purity of their raw materials taking some of the testing burden of themselves. Down the road this may lead to increased cost of raw materials as product testing becomes more the norm rather than the exception.
Although this may lead to some retail price increases, overall it is extremely beneficial for the consumer. Products will me standardized and hopefully as a result more effective. Of course, unscrupulous manufacturers exist in every industry and those adding prescription medications into an “herbal supplement” may still find that without FDA inspectors knocking at the doors for regular inspections it is all to easy to provide tainted products. This is where third party independent testing is crucial. FDA will never have enough in their budget to run from factory to factory and oversee these regulations. Consumers must be diligent in knowing where their products are manufactured and by whom. They must do some minimal research at places like consumerlabs.com to get the independent assessments on product effectiveness and discern whether minimum standards for product purity, identity and strength our actually met. At least the FDA has raised the bar and companies must follow. As a consumer of dietary supplements all I can say is it’s about time.