A Look At Dietary Supplements

herbal medicine, herbal remedy, herbal supplement, alternative medicine, AP / CBS

What Are Herbal Supplements?

Herbal supplements are a type of dietary supplement that contains herbs, either singly or in mixtures. An herb (also called a botanical) is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor, and/or therapeutic properties.


What Are The Regulations For Supplements?
Dietary supplements were defined in a law passed by Congress in 1994. A dietary supplement must meet all of the following conditions:
  • It is a product (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet, which contains one or more of the following: vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids; or any combination of the above ingredients.
  • It is intended to be taken in tablet, capsule, powder, softgel, gelcap, or liquid form.
  • It is not represented for use as a conventional food or as a sole item of a meal or the diet.
  • It is labeled as being a dietary supplement.


  • How Can I Find Out If A Supplement Is Safe And Healthy?

    The National Institutes For Health has guidelines you can refer to.


    Where Can I Report A Complaint About A Supplement?
    To report an illness or injury associated with a dietary supplement, please talk with your health care provider and contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration here.


    To Learn More About Supplements:

    • You can read more about dietary supplements at National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

    • Click here for more information from the Office Of Dietary Supplements, part of the National Institutes of Health.

    WebMD has useful tips on herbal supplements.

    • Melissa McNamara

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