Herbal Supplements

Professional Advice on Herbal Supplements

When taking herbal supplements, the type of professional advice you get is critical.

Because herbs and supplements are not prescription medications you can acquire them without any supervision. That may feel like a freeing experience, but the risk of getting into trouble and not even knowing it is very high. I am blessed with a group of very intelligent and proactive patients. Whenever I ask them how they make their choices of supplements, the answers astound me- friends, TV ads, women’s magazines, and the Internet. Missing from this list is the qualified expert. Mostly because there is a paucity of experts. When you walk into a health food store, the salesperson behind the counter will most likely try to sell you the special of the day. When you go to an alternative doctor or naturopath, he/she will try to sell you their own products. Experts in alternative medicine don’t know much about disease processes and conventional doctors know little about herbs and supplements.

The following pages address alternative therapies for symptoms of hormone imbalance at a generic level. When it comes to brands, choose tried and true. The brands on the market the longest, laboratory tested and found in reputable stores. Do not go for the bargains, they usually are of poor quality and a waste of money in the long run.

Until we have more integrative doctors, experts in alternative options who will not miss disease and who are willing to correctly combine therapeutic options, the onus is on you to do some research, gather all the information you can to help you and bring it to a physician willing to listen and work with you in the area of alternative treatments.

Bloating

Herbal diuretics work almost as well as their prescription version. Their action is milder then their pharmaceutical counterparts and do not deplete your body’s potassium as rapidly. Stomach discomfort does on occasion limit their use.

Chickweed, nettle, and uva ursi are most commonly recommended for relief of water retention. The information on these herbs is scant and not based on data obtained from scientifically qualified studies. Their credibility comes from hundreds of years of use in herbal medicine practices. They can be purchased in capsules, powders, teas, and tablets. The dosing as well as the quality of the products depends on the particular brand. Try a standardized laboratory tested brand and if obtain no relief after two or three uses, discontinue and try another brand or another remedy. My personal practice experience has been poor with regard to the use of diuretic herbs. I do prefer a conventional diuretic because of the consistency in action and the F.D.A. standardization it carries.

Uva-Ursi- Beyond its acceptability as a diuretic, this herb has application as a urinary tract disinfectant, alleged to support the health of the urinary tract and kidneys. Clinical studies are limited and as such provide little information on the herb’s effectiveness. Although widely used as a diuretic, no clinical studies exist with reference to its function as a diuretic.

Nettle- A dual action herb. Some of the herbal supplement distributors recommend nettle as a diuretic while others suggest it be used for relief of allergies. No clinical references or scientific studies are published to date to substantiate either role for this herb.

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