Advantages of Herbal Supplements

Health & FitnessNutrition & Supplement

  • Author Jessica Flears
  • Published December 18, 2009
  • Word count 802

When it comes to nutritional supplements, many people find they prefer herbs and herbal combinations over vitamin and mineral supplements. There are several compelling reasons why going with an herbal supplement can be beneficial. Here are some of the advantages of using herbal supplements.

One of the most obvious benefits is that herbs contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals. This means it is possible to obtain more of what you need without having to take several different pills or capsules. Assuming the herbs are prepared properly and the right portions of the plants are used in the creation of the supplements, you will receive at least the same level of nutrition, and possibly a little more. For people who are on the go and don’t have time to keep up with a bunch of different supplements, choosing the right combination of herbs in a single supplement makes sense.

Another advantage of using herbal supplements is that they are often ideal for treating specific ailments. For example, people who suffer from anxiety or depression may benefit from taking a combination supplement that contains such herbs as skullcap, garlic, ginger, Hawthorne berries and passionflower. In some cases, taking a single herb like St., Johns Wort may be sufficient to deal with mild depression that’s brought on by stress or some unsettling life event. Unlike many prescription medications, herbs are usually not thought to be physically addicting, which makes it easier to gradually curtail the use of the herbal blends once the health issue has passed.

Some herbal supplements are absorbed into the body in a relatively short period of time. This can be especially important if the herb is being used in a crisis situation. A blend of cayenne pepper and garlic is a good example of this. Depending on the situation, it is possible to either take the combination in capsule form or add the herbs to hot water and consume them as a tea. When mixed with warm water, both cayenne pepper (which contains capsicum) and garlic release vitamins and minerals into the system at a much faster rate. Since both are helpful in calming heart palpitations and easing mild anxiety attacks, this quicker turnaround means less trauma to the individual, and a quicker recovery from an unpleasant situation.

In fact, the ability to infuse herbal supplements into a beverage is easily one of the biggest advantages. Adding the contents of an herb in capsule form to a cup of green tea makes it possible to enjoy the herbs at a leisurely pace, as well as facilitating the absorption process. The taste can be pleasing as well, especially when some form of mint is added to the hot beverage.

One strong appeal for some people is the ability to purchase herbs that are prepared without the use of any type of synthetic preservatives. This can be especially important for anyone who prefers to avoid anything they consider to be unnatural from entering their bodies. Herb shops often sell supplements that are prepared in house, or at least carry products that are made using time honored methods that help to ensure the quality of the product.

While the cost of herbs tends to put some consumers off, the truth is that herbal supplements are usually no more expensive than vitamin and mineral supplements. Part of the reason for this is that herbs contain varying amounts of many vitamins and herbs. Even when comparing an herb to a multivitamin, there is a good chance the herbal supplement will contain a wider range of nutrients than the multivitamin product.

For example, the herbal supplement damiana contains significant amounts of vitamin A, niacin, and iron. Moderate amounts of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and magnesium are also present, as well as smaller amounts of thiamine, selenium, sodium, and phosphorus. There are even trace amounts of zinc and riboflavin that are comparable to the minimum daily amounts recommended by health agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom. There is no vitamin product that contains this particular combination in the amounts found in a single dose of damiana.

The use of herbal supplements to augment the diet and address nutritional deficiencies has gained in popularity in recent years. As a result, more retail outlets are carrying herbal products than at any time in the past. If you are thinking of using a supplement to deal with a particular ailment, or as a means of improving your general health, look into using herbal supplements. You may find them to be just what you need. As with all supplements, remember to check with your doctor about possible drug interactions or allergies before taking herbal supplements. There is no vitamin product that contains this particular combination in the amounts found in a single dose of damiana.

Jessica Flears is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about health and fitness, often focusing on specific products such as health supplements.

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