Weekly Gems from Ronda Gates.
Modern medicine spares us an incredible amount of suffering. If you doubt it, imagine a world without antibiotics to cure infections, analgesics to alleviate pain, or any of the many drugs we use to ease stiff joints and help weakened hearts.
But today's potent medicines are not without their risks. For certain people, at certain times, some drugs can cause problems. And for all people, misusing a medication is an invitation to trouble.
Right now herbal product sales are close to $4 billion. Unlike prescriptions, botanicals are not regulated. Since 1994. because they have been classified as dietary supplements, you don't need proof of effectiveness or safety prior to sale. Products are not required to be free of contaminants. Worst of all, it's OK if they don't contain the ingredients listed on the label. That leaves consumers, who have little resources to ferret out fact from fiction, in the dark.
When I went to pharmacy school I was taught that single drugs were safer than combination drugs. That's because, back then, drugs were dispensed based on your height, weight and age and compounding individual doses was the standard. It made no sense to give a 35 year old, 200 pound man the same dose as an 85 year old inactive women with severe osteoporosis. Now there are so many combination drugs and herbal products that even standardized doses are often the wrong dose for most people. Combination herbals are, in my opinion, playing with fire because you may get substances you don't want or need, increasing the chance of unwanted side effects or interactions from improper doses.
Because I can't review the history of every company or their products I rely on the recommendation of panels of pharmacists and dietitians who are doing their best to keep abreast of this market until the inevitable regulation occurs. These are the companies that these panels of experts agree deliver products you can trust. If I don't have your favorite, sorry. It means it didn't pass muster!!!
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