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How Safe Are Unregulated Herbal Supplements?

Did you know that not all supplements are considered healthy? Learn when to avoid the unregulated supplements that can cause you harm.
HolisticZine Staff
Would you like to lose weight quickly and easily? Would you like to renew your energy and your vitality, sleep better, grow thicker hair, feel more calm and relaxed, and have a sharper memory and mind? No matter what your physical, mental or emotional concern, chances are that there is a herbal supplement that promises to address these problems.
Herbal supplements are not technically considered food, so they are not always regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You may have even noticed the statement on such packages that their claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. This may bring up concerns regarding their effectiveness and overall safety. If the FDA is not testing such products, who is to say they will do what they promise or that they're even safe to take?
This is a very difficult answer, as some products seem to work quite well for some people, and others have been pulled from store shelves because of the actual physical damage that they have caused. It's impossible to absolutely say that they are all healthy or that they are all dangerous and should be avoided.
Another concern in this area is that herbal supplements, not being regulated by the FDA, may vary from brand to brand, as to their potency and actual ingredients. One brand may have more of certain leaves and stems of a particular plant in their supplements, whereas another may have more ground seeds and other 'fillers' which save them money but compromise on their effectiveness.
Because an absolute answer is impossible, it's always recommended that someone do as much research as possible regarding any product and brand name that they're considering for themselves. Find the latest news and user reviews before making a decision on any herbal supplement, and above all, never put your health and safety in jeopardy for any reason. Better still, talk to someone who is actually using a supplement, or to your trainer or nutritionist if you have one.
In short, be sure what you are taking and for what reason, and how effective it is, before actually doing so.