Herbal supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry, but do consumers really know what they’e ingesting? A new study shows that supplement pills may actually contain a high amount of filler including wheat and rice, the wrong herb entirely, and sometimes ingredients that are downright dangerous.
Canadian researchers selected popular medical herbs and then purchased 44 bottles of varying brands from 12 local stores. The products were tested by using DNA bar-coding. Their findings concluded that many bottles were mislabeled or diluted. A staggering one-third of the plants advertised on the bottle had been replaced with another plant entirely. Customers were not getting what they paid for, and they were often receiving products with ingredients that could have annoying and potentially lethal side effects.
We reached out to our resident registered dietitian, Mary Hartley, for her thoughts on the study. “If one-third of the supplements showed outright substitution, then this is a huge, huge supplement industry problem,” she said. “Not only are the supplements ineffective, but they may contain harmful ingredients.”
Getting the sniffles? Fall and winter are the time of year when people seem to be more susceptible to colds. It might be the change in temperature or it may be all the bugs that your kids are bringing home from school, but most come down with at least one cold when the temps drop. Regardless of feeling under the weather, most of us can not drop everything we are doing to rest and recuperate like we should. The average cold can take seven days to almost two weeks to recover from, but there is hope. There are many over the counter products and herbal supplements that may shorten the duration of a cold and help you get back to feeling a hundred percent.
Echinacea is an herbal supplement that is often used to prevent a cold or shorten the time you have one once it starts. It is believed that echinacea works by reducing inflammation to help deal with cold symptoms. The most common side effects from echinacea supplements are fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and muscle aches, but I do, however, think that many of these symptoms could be caused by the cold itself. If you are allergic to certain flowers like mums, ragweed or marigolds you may become allergic to echinacea.