Alert is a regular feature that offers news and information which might
help readers in making better informed decisions about the use of herbal
In his Book "Herbal Cures for Common Ailments" Jim O'Brien, Medical Editor of "Your Health" says "herbal remedies can and do promote healing. Generally they are safe" he explains "but remember, they work because they are powerful. Certain herbs can cause harm if you misuse them." He further points out that "because herbs come from plants does not mean they are automatically safe. It's precisely because they have the power to heal that you need to use them with caution-the same caution you should use with any medication. In our rush to embrace herbal healing" he says, "it may be tempting to overuse them or misuse them in a dangerous manner." "Before you consider using herbs to treat any condition" O'Brien advises, "make sure you educate yourself or consult a qualified professional."
A brochure produced by the Catholic Health System of Western New York lists a number of proposed benefits as well as potential risks that could be connected to the use of various herbs. The brochure also offers a series of questions and answers concerning herbal therapies. Included are the following:
What are herbal therapies?
A: Herbal therapies focus on plants which are used as drugs, but sold as dietary supplements. Herbal therapies have gained popularity in recent years. It is estimated that one in three individuals use them for their proposed heath benefits.
Are all herbs safe since they are "natural"?
A: NO! Herbs are not considered drugs by the Food and Drug Administration, therefore they are not subject to the same standards as prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. They are not required to be proven safe or effective before they are marketed.
Where do I turn for accurate herbal information?
A: Be sure to tell your doctor about ALL herbal preparations you are taking; some may have side effects which (may) interfere with your prescription medications. You may also ask a resisted dietitian or pharmacist.
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