Just as with regular medications, there are some products that may be perfectly safe for one person to take, or filler used in the product.
As when you are choosing an over the counter medicine or a prescription medicine, unfortunately you many times do not know whether you may be allergic to or have a bad reaction to any product until you actually try it. For this reason, it may be a good idea to do an Internet Search on the product to see if anyone else has reported any negative side effects on the same or similar product.
There are so many forums and online communities now dedicated to the sharing of herbal medication info, both good and bad, that it should be easy to find any stories about interactions with other medications or any other contraindications to watch out for. This at least gives you a little bit of preparation to be aware of things that may occur.
I mentioned in the previous paragraph to watch out for “interactions”. You’re probably thinking, well that sounds like the same warning you see on the back of a prescription medication bottle, to warn people of drug interactions. For example, you get a pain medication prescribed to you by your doctor. Your doctor or pharamacist may mention to you that you should avoid other types of medicines, foods or other things like sunlight, to prevent an “interaction”.
This just means certain foods, medicines or other events must be avoided for the duration of the treatment to avoid negative interactions between the two. A personal example I can share is, before I went in for a minor surgery for a lipoma, I was told not to take any vitamin E, as it could cause me to bleed more than I should. I never would have known that if I wasn’t told, so this is just an example of how knowledge can help you avoid potentially dangerous interactions or reactions to any natural or herbal remedy.
The exact same concept goes for all herbal remedies and herbal supplements for the promotion of health. This is another thing you can look up on the internet. Many forums will have people who can share their stories and warnings with you. Also there are some pretty informative sites online now that are either government or institute funded which will share this information with you.
Some individuals may be able to just read the labels and see the information they need. For example, if you are thinking of taking a remedy or supplement that contains certain natural ingredients that you know contain stimulants, and you know you are particularly sensitive to stimulants, you know you can’t take that product.
Or, if you are thinking of taking a product that contains known relaxants, and you are hypersensitive to these as well, then you can logically deduce that you should not attempt to take that product.
Overall, safety in herbal supplements and remedies is really a matter of using a little common sense and intuition as to how your body may react to the particular ingredients used. If the FDA sees a specific pattern of problems or issues with a particular remedy or natural product, they will usually step in and either ban or restrict the sale of anything containing the substance.
A good example of this is the naturally occurring substance called ephedra, which was found naturally in herbs traditionally used in diet aids. When the safety was seriously called into question, the product was banned from being sold.