Herbal and dietary supplements represent a growing billion-dollar business in the U.S.,and worldwide. The herbal phenomenon is part of a larger “alternative medicine” movement, which seeks to utilize both traditional and New Age methods of disease prevention and treatment.
There is no doubt that the active ingredients in some herbal mixtures show great promise in the prevention and treatment of a wide range of diseases and ailments, as shown by a large body of scientific data that has been collected and published in reputable medical and scientific journals.
The use of herbal and dietary supplements, however, poses major health risks, and these risks are largely due to the varying nature of herbal preparations, as well as the lack of consumer protection generally given to prescription drugs by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), because herbal and dietary supplements are not officially classified as drugs.
Herbal medicines and dietary supplements are generally processed plant ingredients, solvent extracts, or essential oils of plants. All plants, including herbs, naturally synthesize a lot of complex chemical compounds as part of their metabolic activities. Many of these extracts are not directly related to the plant’s energy production but are toxins synthesized by the plant in order to ward off other plants, herbivores, and plant parasites.
Thus, all plant materials contain large numbers of chemical compounds, some of which may have a desired physiological effect and others which may have no effect whatever ,or may contain a number of harmful effects when consumed by individuals. Many herbs in fact, contain compounds that act differently from the principal active ingredient
What Exactly Does “No approved Therapeutic Claims” Mean
Lately there have been a lot of herbal supplements sold, which claim to aid vital organs from harm caused by excesses of lifestyle characterized by overindulgence in eating, drinking and other unsafe practices and immoderate diversions.
The proliferation of food and herbal supplements, which are being advertised and passed on as effective cure-all products, despite the fact that these food and herbal supplements have no established therapeutic effects, is a major headache for regulatory agencies and health watchdogs.
To the common consumer, the phrase would generally mean that a supplement has not yet been determined by the FDA to be as proven and effective as advertised. It could also mean that no studies and long-term research have yet been done to determine the efficacy of the pill, or herb in actually treating anything. This phrase usually serves as a disclaimer of sorts.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) was passed by unanimously by the US Congress to ensure consumers’ rights to access safe and effective dietary supplements. This law gave the FDA the mandate to allow this access, and ensure the products were safe and made in a consistent manner.
The FDA last year, finally passed rules to require “Adverse Event Reporting”, which requires supplement companies to track safety data, as well as ensure good manufacturing practices. This means that supplements must be made to standardized quality to ensure that consumers are getting consistent products.