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Herbal Supplements: What You Should Know

pestle-and-mortar-1326016For centuries, people have used herbal remedies as a natural solution to prevent colds, improve memory, and improve their quality of life. Herbal dietary supplements, also know as botanicals, have many benefits, but they are not as strictly regulated as other medications. Though they are processed consistently and required to meet quality standards, they do not need approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being sold. It is very important to do your research and consult your physician on the pros and cons of taking herbal supplements before adding them to your diet.

Herbal supplements are regulated by the FDA, but not as drugs or as foods. They fall under a category called dietary supplements. The rules for dietary supplements are as follows:

·        Manufacturers don't have to seek FDA approval before selling dietary supplements.

·        Companies can claim that products address a nutrient deficiency, support health or are linked to body functions — if they have supporting research and they include a disclaimer that the FDA hasn't evaluated the claim.

·        Companies aren't allowed to make a specific medical claim. An example of a specific medical claim might be, "This herb reduces the frequency of urination due to an enlarged prostate."

·        Manufacturers must follow good manufacturing practices to ensure that supplements are processed consistently and meet quality standards. These regulations are intended to keep the wrong ingredients and contaminants out of supplements, as well as make sure that the right ingredients are included in appropriate amounts.

·        The FDA is responsible for monitoring dietary supplements that are on the market. If the FDA finds a product to be unsafe, it can take action against the manufacturer or distributor or both, and may issue a warning or require that the product be removed from the market.

These regulations provide assurance that:

·        Herbal supplements meet certain quality standards

·        The FDA can intervene to remove dangerous products from the market

However, these rules do not guarantee that taking the herbal supplement will be compatible with your medication or body chemistry. Make sure you talk with your doctor before taking any supplements.

The FDA requires that the labels of all herbal supplements include this information:

·        The name of the herbal supplement

·        The name and address of the manufacturer or distributor

·        A complete list of ingredients — either in the Supplement Facts panel or listed beneath it

·        Serving size, amount and active ingredient

Before taking a supplement, make sure you understand all ingredients, and ask your doctor in case you do not. Compare ingredients and evaluate a product carefully before you buy it.

It is especially important to talk to your doctor about herbal supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication, if you are under 18 or over 65, or if you are preparing for or recently had surgery. If you decide to take a supplement, follow the supplement instructions, keep track of what you take, do research on your brand, and be aware of alerts and advisories.

Herbal supplements can have many benefits if chosen correctly. Be a smart consumer and play it safe before taking supplements.


About Sacred Heart Villa

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ created Sacred Heart Villa (formerly St. Michael Convent) in 2003 with the vision of providing a personal care home for the Sisters and other seniors of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters renovated St. Michael in order to create 35 personal care residential rooms. Sacred Heart Villa officially opened her doors to her first new residents in May 2004, with space for 57 Sisters and 40 other senior residents.  The facility has two residential buildings, a remodeled dining room, a new fireside lounge, library, café and beauty shop. The chapel remains in the middle of the facility for it truly is the Heart of the community. Each new residential room provides an individual with privacy, safety and security in an environment of beauty and grace. Mass is celebrated each day and is open to the public.

Sacred Heart Villa is now accepting residents. If you are seeking care for yourself or loved one, contact Sacred Heart Villa today at 610-929-5751 for a tour. You can also visit or visit us at