Discussion
  • Hi Bob, Thanks for the article! I had no idea that NCCAM existed. The web link though doesn’t work. I think this is the one you intended;
    http://nccam.nih.gov/health/herbsataglance.htm

    Informative site!

    From Karen
    January 16, 2011

Herbal Supplements – Are they really worth it?

In the United States, we now spend $5 BILLION a year on herbal supplements. Are we getting our money’s worth?  It probably depends on what herb you are taking and for what condition. If you have been taking St. John’s Wort for mild to moderate depression, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), maybe you are.  But for many of the herbs we take, we are literally throwing (or peeing) our money away. For example, a recent study funded by NCCAM, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, concluded that Echinacea, the most common herbal remedy used by children and the third most common among adults, had no effect on reducing the severity or the length of colds, the condition it is most commonly taken to treat. Fortunately, Echinacea does not appear to be dangerous, but that is not always the case.  Some of the most popular herbs taken over time such as ephedra and kava have proven to be dangerous.  Many herbs, including St. John’s Wort, interfere or influence the action of many prescription medications.

Don’t let the fact that they are natural fool you. Herbs contain in some cases a powerful active ingredient – in fact many prescription medications were formulated based on herbs.

If you are considering taking as herbal remedy, it would be a good idea to discuss it with your physician especially if you are currently taking a prescription medication, or if you are scheduled for surgery soon.

The NCCAM has reviewed the studies and written fact sheets on well over 100 of the most commonly taken herbal supplements. You can find them by going to, www.nccam.gov/health/atoz.

It just might save you some money and maybe even your health.

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