A Systematic Review of Herbal Dietary Supplements


A green and celery

Herbal food refers to the preparation of food containing one or more natural ingredients, which are usually uncooked. In simple terms, it is defined as any food that contains one or more herbs. There are different classes of herbs, including common, perennial, annual, fall, wintergreen, and scented. In general, herbs are a widespread and widely distributed group of aromatic plants. This excludes only vegetables and certain other plants grown primarily for scented or macronutrient-rich qualities, which are utilized for flavor and garnishing in food, for aromatics and medicinal purposes, or other fragrances. The term “herbal” has often been used to define the whole class of plants with these diverse qualities. On the other hand, some plants in the class of herbs are not herbs but have the characteristics of herbs without their plant part.

Assessments of Herbal Products

In many ways, herbal medicinal products fall under the classification of dietary supplements. Dietary supplements are regulated by the USFDA (Food & Drug Administration) similar to medicines and foods. Before FDA approves a dietary supplement, it must undergo rigorous tests, including safety studies to evaluate the effects of the ingredients, as well as post-market phase tests to evaluate how well the product is working. The Natural Products Association, an international organization that certifies natural dietary supplements, does not regulate herbal medicinal products.

Some Reviews 

A close up of a glass of orange juice

Many herbal food supplements are also believed to be better for you than food supplements that are manufactured with chemical ingredients. One reason for this belief is that herbalists do not use chemically formulated ingredients such as pesticides and hormones in their herbal mixtures. Many believe that herbal mixtures have a more physiological effect on the body because they contain natural chemicals that act in concert with the body’s mechanisms to affect the physiological effect. This means that the compounds within a herbal mixture have more ability to cause an effect on your body than do chemicals.

Another reason for the belief that herbal supplements are safer than chemically manufactured dietary aids is that the active ingredients tend to be from naturally growing plants. Chemical ingredients may be introduced into the environment through pollution, soil runoff, or animals being infected with the ingredients. These plants and animals may then be consumed by people. A recent study showed that despite claims by some companies that their herbal products were safe, these products were potentially toxic to humans. It is possible that the toxins were not fully absorbed in the human body, or that the body was unable to process the toxin in time due to the low levels of exposure that the study participants had.

Some herbal medicinal products claim to have their healing properties while others are marketed solely as food supplements. For example, echinacea is often sold as a food supplement. However, it is commonly used in allergy and cold treatments. It works well as a sore throat remedy as well as a treatment for water retention.

There is also the consideration that some herbal supplements may contain only trace amounts of the active ingredient. For example, saw palmetto has very little taste, but it can be effective in controlling DHT, a hormone that causes enlarged breasts in women. The company that markets saw palmetto as an herbal supplement also markets it as a treatment for prostate problems, so anyone considering taking this product should check with a doctor first. Many manufacturers of herbal supplements make it difficult to determine the source of their plants. They sometimes grow their plants in other countries and then ship them across the world to be processed and packaged.

The concern about herbal products has led some researchers to conduct a systematic review to see if there are any significant differences between these products and pharmaceutical drugs. This review looked at studies that compared weight loss supplements with chemically manufactured drugs and found no significant difference. However, this review did find one herbal product that demonstrated a slight improvement in cholesterol levels. The research has not been completely comprehensive, but this is the first evidence that herbal products may be helpful for weight loss.

In the years since Food and Drug Administration regulations were established to protect consumers, herbal dietary supplements have grown in popularity. Many people do not realize that these foods and drinks may contain ingredients that are not safe, and some ingredients may even be harmful. However, because the US government controls the production of botanical supplements, only those that contain approved substances are allowed on the market. Therefore, you may be able to purchase health supplements that will save your life. You can speak to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using botanicals to improve your health.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter