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Safety And Quality Issues

Safety and Quality Issues

Herbal products are widely available, yet unfortunately there are many companies that sell products of substandard quality and purity.

Herbal products are considered dietary supplements by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and they are not subject to the same standards as prescription and nonprescription drugs. Manufacturers don't have to prove the safety and efficacy of herbal products before they put them on the market. They are only required to provide accurate information on the product's label about the contents, the quantity, the manufacturer, and the directions for use.

In addition, the FDA requires a Supplement Facts panel that lists serving size, dietary and nondietary ingredients, and amount per serving size as well as the scientific name of the plant. However, there is insufficient enforcement to be sure that the herbs you buy (especially on the Internet) will do what you want -- and that they won't do anything else.

Who Can You Trust?

The safest way to obtain herbal products is to contact a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner who uses herbs clinically and can recommend legitimate herbal companies.

An alternative is to shop at small, local herb stores. Large chains and health food stores that do not specialize in herbs or that are run by conglomerates are less likely to have consistently excellent quality. Small shops are mostly run by herbalists who love herbal medicine and pride themselves on the quality of their herbs. Most of them have spent many years studying and improving their skills. And while they, too, have a profit motive, it is much less likely to lead to them cut corners or sell inferior products.

Herb companies that belong to the Herbal Products Association are always the most reputable. This industry group requires its members to uphold higher standards than those mandated by Pakistani Laws.