Herbal Health

For many women, herbal health care is not an option but a necessity.

Whether for managing aspects of health, womens health issues or as a means of supplementing food health nutrition, herbals for health have become a lifestyle choice.

The new Food And Drug Administration (FDA) is set to change all that. While it could be argued that the new guidelines will help safeguard the health and wellness of the numerous women who use natural herbal supplements or alternative herbal health remedies, has the (FDA) gone too far down the road of the 'nanny state' mentality where it concerns your choice as to whether or not you want herbals over more traditional drugs?

Before you decide here are some important pointers on the new FDA guidelines on Complementary/alternative therapies (CAM); herbal supplements; and what essentially they mean for many womens health and indeed other herbal health care seekers.

The (FDA's) draft guidance's terminology for 3 key areas appears to be the bone of contention and is described as setting traditional and alternative approaches to health and well-being within the realms of conventional medicine in the US. This will in effect regulate natural herbal health products that are currently protected by legislation.

  • The FDA use the term "Medicine" rather than "Modality" for Complementary and alternative (CAM) practices, which implies that anyone who is not a licensed physician is breaking the law on two accounts by, (a) using these modalities and (b) practicing medicine without a license

  • The FDA use the term "treatment" rather than "therapy", thereby limiting those who can carry out these practices to licensed physicians. Anyone not licensed but is practicing is breaking the law

  • The FDA use the terms "Medicine" and "treatment" instead of "Modalities" and "therapy", - meaning that all substances, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc., are instantly classified as untested drugs by the very fact that they are being used to prevent, treat, mitigate or cure disease states; only FDA approved drugs can be legally used in this way

  • What this means for you, herbal health or dietary health supplement market and complimentary therapies is, less freedom when it comes to accessing herbal food health supplements that might ordinarily be prepared for you by your herbalist or alternative therapist.

    For example, if you are using a herbal supplements, provided by your herbal health care therapist - such as juice therapy to promote health and wellness, under the new FDA guidelines this will no longer be classified as 'health food' - "(Modalities and "therapy)", but as "Medicine" and "treatment".

    If on the other hand the same juice is being provided to you as part of a disease treatment regimen, it would be subject to FDA regulation as a 'drug treatment'; meaning, that your herbalist could no longer prepare and sell you even a pure vegetable juice concoction as a herbal health food supplement. This could only be done by a physician or medically approved practitioner.

    Under this new FDA guidelines, depending on the CAM therapy/ practice, some commentators argue that it will medicalise alternative herbal health therapies; other complementary and alternative therapies, along with a wide range of herbal health supplements, herbal products, and even health and wellness foods that are often used in conjunction with those therapies.

    Herbals' Criticisms/ Concerns

    It has long been argued by the medical commmunity that since herbal supplements or herbal products are made from a combination of crude herbs that are reduced into powder or gel form before being turned into tablets and capsules, there exist the possibility of life-threatening or other harmful components that can alter body chemistry being still present.

    Up to now, herbals and herbal dietary health supplements have been regulated by the FDA as foods, so did not have to meet the same standards required for drugs. The fear now though is that with tighter controls amid the increasing demand for herbal health and natural dietary supplements, comes the increased risk to CAM and herbal health seekers who cannot or will not go down the medicalised route, - resorting instead to other unsafe means of obtaining herbal diet supplements and other herbal remedies.

    This is especially worrying, given the pre-existing concerns over the harmful effects of some weight loss supplements already on the market today. The question is, whether or not the FDA's new guidelines will simply encourage 'underground' activities and the production of even more and perhaps harmful herbal weight loss supplements by unscrupulous opportunity seekers?

    Alternative Herbal Health Care

    While it would appear that the FDA's latest guidance seem set on ensuring that in addition to dietary health supplements, herbal products, food, drinks and drugs are registered with the proper authority to help safeguard consumers' health and wellness, there is scope for abuse.

    Whether or not you personally use herbal nutrition supplements, herbal weight loss supplements, herbal remedies, products or other (CAM) therapies, it should remain your fundamental right to choose whatever health and wellness strategies you want for yourself; be it natural herbal supplements or procedures; or, the more traditional drug/medical treatment route or both.

    A strong alternative for women who want to take control over their own lives is home-health, herbal remedies. Provided you get yourself informed as to the health benefits of using natural everyday foods, herbs and spices that are freely available to you, there is really no reason why you cannot take back control and opt for a herbal lifestyle. This excellent resource will show you everything you need to know. Health and Wellness Products - How To Make Your Own

    If you want to use herbal supplements or herbal health remedies, it is always best to seek professional guidance from a trained herbal medicine practitioner. This is especially important for herbs that are used in conjunction with other medical treatments - such as Chinese medicine or Ayurvedic medicine.

    The information on this site is purely of educational value and is not intended to replace your seeking medical advice. You must consult your doctor over all your health concerns.

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