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Dietary supplement, any vitamin, mineral, herbal product, or other ingestible preparation that is added to the diet to benefit health

January 31,2023

Dietary supplement,  any vitamin, mineral, herbal product, or other ingestible preparation that is added to the diet to benefit health.

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Dietary supplements are used worldwide and represent a broad category of ingestible products that are distinguishable from conventional foods and drugs. In the United States, dietary supplements are defined as products (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet that contain at least one of the following ingredients: vitamin, mineral, herb or botanical (including extracts of herbs or botanicals), amino acid, metabolite, or any combination thereof. In short, products such as multivitamins, garlic tablets, fish oil capsules, probiotics, natural weight-loss aids, and certain types of energy drinks are examples of dietary supplements.

In the United States, dietary supplements must be labeled as such and must be intended for oral administration only, whether as tablets, capsules, powders, or liquids. In addition, dietary supplements must not include chemical compounds that have been approved as drugs or licensed as biologics, unless the compound was previously marketed as a dietary supplement or a food. Supplements are often sold alongside conventional over-the-counter medications in retail outlets. While dietary supplements are not intended to treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease, many consumers often view them as substitutes for conventional medications.

More than 50 percent of the U.S. population uses some type of dietary supplement on a regular basis. Surveys of supplement usage in other countries indicate that between 40 and 60 percent of Asian respondents use dietary supplements, and about 30 percent of consumers in Europe and Latin America report regular use of these products.

What are herbal supplements?

Herbal supplements are products derived from plants and/or their oils, roots, seeds, berries or flowers. Herbal supplements have been used for many centuries. They are believed to have healing properties.

What are the forms of herbal supplements?

Herbal products come in many different forms and may be used internally or externally. The forms of herbal products include:
Liquid extracts.
Teas.
Tablets and capsules.
Bath salts.
Oils.
Ointments.

What are some common herbal supplements and their uses?

There are many herbal supplements that have several different uses. The following are some of the most common:

Aloe Vera:used topically for burns, psoriasis and osteoarthritis. Used in the oral form for digestive issues such as gastritis or constipation.

Black cohosh: used to treat hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and menopausal symptoms.

Chamomile: used to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, upset stomach, gas and diarrhea. It is also used topically for skin conditions. Caution in people with ragweed allergy.

Echinacea: used to fight cold and flu symptoms.

Flaxseed: used to lower cholesterol. Good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Ginko: used to treat memory problems and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Can be used along with the antidepressant selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to enhance sex drive and sexual performance in people who have side effects with antidepressant medications.

Caution in people taking blood thinners.

Peppermint oil: used to treat digestion problems such as nausea, indigestion, stomach problems and bowel conditions.

Soy: used to treat menopausal symptoms, memory problems and high cholesterol levels. Organic, whole soy food is preferable to soy supplements and processed soy foods like soy hot dogs.

St. John’s Wort: used to treat depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. NOTE: This herb has many other drug and herb interactions. Consult your healthcare provider before starting this supplement.

Tea tree oil: used topically to treat several conditions including, acne, athlete's foot, nail fungus, wounds, infections, lice, oral yeast infection (thrush), cold sores and dandruff.

How popular are herbal supplements?

Herbal supplements are widely used in the United States. A study by the Centers for Disease Control states that more than half of the people in the country take a daily herbal supplement.