Millions of Americans are fascinated by the use of herbal compounds, alternative medicines, and natural remedies. In fact, according to some estimates, consumers may be spending as much as $34 billion dollars each year on products advertised to assist with everything from minor rashes to cardiac care. While some of these products may have some medicinal value, people who attempt to use them to treat self-diagnosed conditions may be placing their health, or even their life, at risk. If you are interested in the use of natural remedies and herbals for a health issue plaguing you or a family member, there are some things you should know before you begin.
How and where is the herbal compound produced?
While some herbal compounds are harvested, prepared, and packaged in the United States, many are prepared in countries with little to no oversight to ensure that the product is harvested and prepared correctly in sanitary conditions. To avoid contamination or mislabeling issues, make sure that any herbal product you intend to purchase is prepared in accordance with some type of regulations to help ensure safety and purity.
What side effects or interactions with other drugs might occur during use?
When considering the use of any herbal compound or natural remedy, it is important to understand what side effects you may experience and how taking these products might interfere with any other prescription medication or over-the-counter product you may be taking. One common problem experienced when taking herbal compounds along with OTC aspirin or some type of prescription blood thinner is that some herbs can compound the effect and create the risk for internal bleeding. To avoid this, always research potential side effects of both the natural remedy and any other medications you are taking to look for potential conflicts.
Does your physician approve of your usage of these products?
Before using any natural remedy, herbal compound, or alternative medicine for serious health conditions, it is important that you tell your doctor what you want to try, how much you will be taking, and what the ingredients are. Patients who are under a doctor's care for serious conditions, such as those related to their heart, should be aware that taking any unapproved herbs or natural remedies can interfere with the body's ability to function properly and can even cause them to suffer cardiac events, strokes, internal bleeding, and more. To be safe, always do your research and get clearance from your medical care professional before self-treating any serious health conditions.
If you have a heart problem that you would like to treat with alternative medicine, talk with a professional cardiologist first.