Significant advances in the field of medicine have resulted in more sophisticated treatments in terms of curing various illness such as headache, stomach pain, skin infections and wounds. However, nothing can seem to stop the steady rise in the popularity of herbal products and dietary supplements among health-conscious individuals.
It has been a traditional practice since ancient times to use herbal treatment for many types of illness. With the high cost of modern medicine and the current global crisis, the efficacy of certain plants and its extracts have certainly remained popular.
There is also a certain sector of the society that simply advocates the "go natural" idea as a healthier option for preventive and therapeutic purposes. Besides, even herbal medicines are no longer limited to the traditional fresh or dried plants but now come in the form of tablets, capsules, powders, or as teas.
While herbal medicines may be effective in treating and curing many health problems, they must be taken properly and with caution to ensure safety and avoid possible drug interactions.
Herbal products are not regulated for purity and potency and are not tested with the scientific rigor required of convetional drugs. Its manufacturers are not required to submit proof of safety and efficacy to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in order to market their products. The adverse effects and drug interactions which may be associated with herbal medicines caused by impurities such as allergens and pollen are largely unknown. However, some herbal products have high potency which may increase the possibility of its ill effects.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 enables these herbal products to include in the labels statements about their alleged effects on the human body such as alleviation of fatigue or how they can help in promoting the general well-being of a person such as mood enhancement. These declared effects of herbal products have been analyzed and are proven to resemble claims of clinical efficacy for various diseases and conditions. However, herbal products are not supposed to be marketed for the diagnosis, treatment, cure and/or prevention of disease.