Herbal supplements are a type of dietary supplement that contain herbs. An herb (also known as a botanical) is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor, and therapeutic properties.
Diet supplements derived from herbs usually contain more than one type of herb. The purpose of an herbal diet supplement is to increase the benefits that you get from your normal diet and to ward off the negative effects. Herbal diet supplements are rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc. Obviously, dietary supplements are not meant to be used as treatments or cures of any disease or medical condition. They are more effective as preventative agents that help strengthen the body and the immune system to naturally ward off any infections or internal malfunctions. For people who do not manage a balanced diet herbal diet supplements also supply necessary nutrients missing from regular diet.
Many herbal dietary supplements can provide substantial aid for different types of medical conditions.
Some herbal diet supplements are:
- Ephedra. This supplement increases the body resistance towards common cold, helps in the treatment of asthma and upper respiratory problems. For people who work out regularly, ephedra is an important ingredient in most fat loss supplements.
- Magnesium. Minerals and salts are the biggest deficiencies in an unbalanced diet. Magnesium is essential in preventing kidney, thyroid, and heart disease. There are many herbal diet supplements rich in magnesium.
- St. John’s wort. Also known as hypericum, Klamath weed, and goat weed, this supplement has been used for centuries in the treatment of mental disorders, nerve pain. In older times it was also used as a sedative and malaria cure. Nowadays, the common uses are treatment of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. It is typically consumed as a tea or in pill form.
- Vitamin E. Uncontrolled oxidation in our body can result in long-term damage. That is why our bodies generate anti-oxidants. However, if the production of anti-oxidants falls below safe levels then external supplements are required.
- One very potent anti-oxidant is vitamin E. Herbal diet supplements rich in vitamin E make good anti-oxidants.
- Copper. While metals and minerals are essential to the normal functioning of our body, sometimes they can fail to get absorbed properly. Zinc is essential for our body and there is nothing better than a copper rich herbal diet supplement. These supplements increase the absorption of zinc. The result is better protection against heart disease, and healthier skin and hair color.
- Folate. From a certain viewpoint, folates are required more than anything else because they can affect us down to our DNA. Folates are required for the production and maintenance of new cells (especially during pregnancy and infancy). DNA replication cannot take place without folates. Folates also prevent cancer causing DNA changes. Folate deficiency affects the bone marrow where most new cells are produced. Folates are needed to make new red blood cells and prevent anemia. As you can see, any deficiency in folates can be devastating in the end. One of the earliest indications of folate deficiency is anemia. Herbal diet supplements that have folates as major ingredients are always good for you, even if you do not have any problem currently.
- Iron. In the human body, the metal iron is more pervasive than any other. It plays an important part in several vital functions. Iron carries oxygen to the lungs and muscles in the form of hemoglobin. It acts as a means of transport for electrons between cells. It is a catalyst for enzyme reactions in tissues. Iron deficiency most commonly occurs in children and pre-menopausal women. It can easily prove to be fatal if left unchecked. Herbal diet supplements rich in iron can help to prevent such a situation.
- Vitamin B6 and B12. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) deficiency can lead to anemia, depression, dermatitis, and high blood pressure. Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) deficiency can lead to anemia, memory loss, and cognitive decline. It is most likely to occur among elderly people. In extreme cases it can even cause paralysis can result. It is widely used in the treatment of alcoholism, depression, diabetes, hair loss, and stress. Vegans are especially at risk of B12 deficiency because vitamin B12 naturally occurs only in meats. So if you are a vegan than an herbal dietary supplement with vitamins B6 and B12 is an absolute must for you.
- Tea. Most herbal teas (and especially Medicinal Strength Teas) involve the use of herbs that have anti-oxidant properties useful in prevention of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure. Since these teas usually do not involve caffeine and other associated chemicals they are better from a health perspective than regular tea or coffee.
- Vitamin D. The human body (especially skin) develops its own vitamin D. It is necessary to maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorous. A direct result of vitamin D deficiency is a weaker skeleton, a condition known as osteoporosis where the bones become porous and hence break easily. Vitamin D herbal supplements can help prevent osteoporosis.
- Selenium. This is a chemical so volatile that it does not occur in its free state in nature. Toxic in large amounts, trace amounts of it form the center of some enzymes that are vital to the normal working of all cells in nearly all living organisms. In the human body it behaves as an anti-oxidant and is also important for the normal working of the thyroid gland. Cereals, meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of selenium. Since the majority of sources are animal based, vegans and vegetarians should seriously herbal dietary supplements containing selenium.
Vitamin A. This vitamin is responsible for maintaining good eye sight and promoting bone growth. It is also an anti-oxidant. Most skin and eye problems are related to vitamin A deficiency so if you have any such conditions, consider a herbal diet supplement rich in vitamin A.