The World of Natural Supplements. What are They and Why do We Consume Them?

The World of Natural Supplements. What are They and Why do We Consume Them?

Natural supplements include things like multivitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs. Herbal teas are also considered natural dietary supplements. Natural supplements include pre and post workout supplements and protein shakes for exercise. People  take natural supplements for health-related reasons, believing they will offer health benefits.

Humanity co-evolved with plant medicine for thousands of years. Modern synthetic drugs include lists of side effects.

Natural supplements are available for sale over the counter at your local pharmacy. They are also available at grocery or health food stores, or online without a prescription. Dietary supplements are not considered “drugs” by the US Food and Drug Administration. Many dietary supplements are also considered natural supplements. The FDA will take action against anyone that mislabels or tampers with supplements. 

And yet, the FDA does treat natural supplements like “food items.” Natural supplements are not a substitute for a healthy balanced diet. 

Natural dietary supplements are “food items,” and food impacts our bodies. Some foods do not agree with certain people. For example food that contains gluten may harm those with gluten intolerance. Like food, natural supplements will also impact health and well-being. Not every person will respond to the same dietary supplement in the same way.

Natural supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA the same way prescription drugs are. In fact, some supplements make health claims that are false. In some cases, dietary supplements may claim the product contains inaccurate doses. Some doses are too small to offer any health benefits. That means that even if a natural herb is found to be therapeutic, if the dose is not large enough, the supplement will not be helpful. Dietary supplements are not regulated with as strict parameters as prescription drugs are. 

Natural supplements cannot make claims of diagnoses, cures, treatments, or disease prevention. The FDA allows natural supplements to claim they may contribute to health and well-being.

Always check how you feel before, during and after you take any natural supplements. You may want to keep a journal and note changes to your well-being. Check with your doctor before you take products labeled as a natural supplement.

Natural supplements may interact with your prescriptions or may make you sick. Especially if you have irregular blood pressure, heart disease, or are diabetic. If you are pregnant, nursing, or are elderly you should also talk to your doctor.

You should never give natural supplements to a child unless it says so on the label. Give your doctor full disclosure about what natural supplements you are taking. This includes telling them how often you take them, the dosage, and why you are taking them.

Five Reasons People Take Natural Supplements 

People take natural supplements for good reason. Here we list five common reasons people take natural supplements:

1. People believe natural supplements will improve their health in a holistic way. We sometimes see our ancestors as being wise and knowing much more so than us, their modern descendants. Many people worry we have lost touch with ancestral knowledge of herbs and their natural healing properties. 
2. Big pharma makes people nervous. Many of us have grown leery of how powerful large pharmaceutical companies have become. Not everyone has access to prescriptions or the means to afford them. Medical coverage can be costly or bothersome. And not everyone believes their doctor has their best interests in mind. People want to trust that taking natural dietary supplements are more “natural.”  Many would rather self diagnose than see a doctor to get a prescription. 
3. Some of us want the privacy of being able to treat our symptoms ourselves. Finding a natural treatment yourself that cures an illness is empowering. It is encouraging to take natural supplements that make you feel well and healthy. It can make you feel better if you are taking a natural supplement. It can be intimidating to rely on prescription drugs.
4. Discovering a natural supplement company that produces high quality products is encouraging. Not all natural supplement companies have integrity. However, a natural supplement company that has integrity and is consistent is encouraging. This gives the power back to the people and puts their health in their own hands. 
5. Many people take natural supplements because they want to make decisions about their own health. Understanding what natural supplements to take to boost your health is important. Finding the right supplements can help you on your journey to holistic health. Your body chemistry is individual to you so it is important to educate yourself.

What Makes Herbs and Herbal Supplements so Important to Your Wellbeing?

Many people are curious about natural supplements and herbs for health and well-being. Herbal remedies have been around for millennia. Herbs not only contribute to a healthy diet, they are the spice of life, and used in cuisines from around the world. Herbs bring a unique flavor to those with a distinguished palate. 

What herbs are not only delicious, in teas, salads, and even baked on pizza, but are full of health benefits? You may have heard of fresh herbs like mint, basil, and chamomile. These herbs also have therapeutic properties. Mint for indigestion, basil for kidney problems, and chamomile for anxiety. 

Humans use the potent "active ingredients" in herbs for health and to treat illness. Humans have known how to use herbs for thousands of years. Some herbs are the basis for some of today's common medicines. 

One such herb is white willow bark. Researchers have identified and isolated the properties in willow bark that relieve fever. They used that knowledge to create a synthetic derivative that is sold over the counter best known as aspirin.  

Herbs and herbal remedies are common to specific regions around the world. People who are indigenous to these areas are familiar with traditional herbal remedies.  There are many traditions surrounding herbal remedy preparation and treatments going back millennia. This is called "traditional medicine." 

Traditional medicine consists of the knowledge, practice, and skills in a specific culture believed to maintain health. It is also commonly used to prevent, diagnose, and cure physical and mental illnesses. Most often, traditional medicine includes knowledge of herbs as remedies. Some of these herbal remedies have shown to have more health benefits than others.  In western modernized cultures, traditional medicine is complementary or alternative medicine (CAM).

Four World Regions with Interesting Herbal Traditions

There are four main world regions that have interesting traditions using herbs and herbal remedies. These are also treatments in traditional medicine that show efficacy in emerging research:

  • South America: In South America, countries like Peru are rich in forest and exotic flora. Many South Americans understand that herbal medicine is important to their economy. South American shamans are especially sensitive to plants and their “magical” uses.
  • Africa: In many parts of rural Africa, traditional healers offer herbs as therapy. Indigenous herbs are the most accessible and affordable resources available to local populations. And often the only resources for hundreds of miles. Research in alternative medicine shows the use of the whole plant is more beneficial. It is better to use the whole plant than to isolate individual properties from the plant. This is called “whole-plant synergy.” In the research, many of these plants indigenous to African tribes are anti-bacterial. Many are also anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and are natural diuretics, etc.
  • China: In east Asian countries like Japan and China, contemporary medicine is available. Still, most of the population prefers alternative medicine for treating and preventing illness. Successes in Chinese medicine using herbal remedies is gaining respect in the west. Some traditional Chinese medicine is shaping the way the west views natural therapies. These remedies are showing a lot of positive results in the research.
  • India: Ayurveda is an ancient system of complementary and comprehensive traditional medicine. This scientific medicinal system is indigenous to India. The word Ayurveda means ‘knowledge of life.’ "Ayurveda" comprises two Sanskrit words, Ayu (life) and Veda (knowledge or science). Many herbs found in the traditional Indian texts have important healing properties. The FDA calls these herbs, “new drugs.” Since they are only recently being researched for their efficacy. 

Traditional medicine from different world regions help us understand our ancestors. Our ancestors did have a deep understanding about herbs as natural medicine. Natural herbs have great potential as medicine.  

Modern people who understand traditional medicine can help us see how important herbs are today. This traditional knowledge and science supports what our ancestors have known all along.

Plant Medicine and the Emerging Science of What Some Humans Have Known All Along

Plant medicines are gaining more respect in western society. Research into Ayurvedic plant medicine has taken an important turn. Recent research shows ayurvedic plant medicines have many health benefits.

Traditional plant medicines are key components of Ayurveda. Practitioners of these traditional therapies use ayurvedic plant medicine to "cleanse" the body. Plant medicine is also used to help prevent disease, and keep the mind, body, and spirit in balance.

A basic principle of Ayurvedic medicine is to prevent and treat illness. In the west, we often respond to disease as opposed to prevent illness. Ayurvedic medicine teaches maintaining a balance between your mind, body, and environment. To prevent and treat illness, using plant medicine is key to maintaining this balance. 

Common Ayurvedic plant medicines are rarely prescribed on their own. They are part of a holistic approach to physical and spiritual health and activity. This prescribed physical and spiritual health regimen usually includes the practice of yoga.

Plant medicine is part of a holistic regimen. Ayurvedic practitioners also use therapeutic oils and spices and treat illness. This regimen promotes well-being along with implementing massage and aromatherapy.  

One of the most important plant medicines used in Ayurvedic tradition is Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is a Sattvic Kapha Rasayana, used by ancient practitioners. Ashwagandha was first believed to promote happiness and youthfulness.

  • Ashwagandha has a long history of use proven to have several health-promoting effects. These effects include increased energy, a faster metabolism. An improved overall physical and joint health are also reported. Ashwagandha also helps promote a reduced stress response. The active ingredients found in this herb are a group of natural compounds, withanolide glycosides.
  • Turmeric is another herb considered to be a plant medicine. Turmeric is a common ingredient found in Indian and southeast Asian foods like curry. Curcumin is a product of turmeric and gives the plant its yellow color. Curcumin reduces oxidation caused by inflammation. Research suggests it even “scavenges or neutralizes free radicals.” 

There exists approximately 600 holistic formulas and 250 single plants in Ayurvedic treatments. These plant medicines are usually categorized according to the type of treatment required. Some of these are therapies for pain relief or increased vitality.

Studies suggest some Ayurvedic herbs may be beneficial to human health. Others show that results are inconclusive as to their administration, and dosage, etc.

Mother Nature or Science: Are Synthetic Drugs the Answer?

Are synthetic drugs more or less effective than plant based compounds? Research shows that whole plant synergy is more effective than isolating one compound. 

Much research has gone into isolating one therapeutic plant compound in a lab. That plant compound is then studied at the microscopic level to synthesize it.

These patented and synthesized compounds are similar to their plant based counterparts. But not identical. This is how big pharma makes money off of what mother nature gave us in the first place.

Synthesizing plant compounds in a lab makes drug companies a lot of money. This is often how large pharmaceutical companies patent drugs and make large profits. You can’t patent a plant and make a profit. And you can usually make a lot more profit if you hold a patent.

There does need to be regulation in the dietary and natural supplement industries. Businesses and corporations that produce our plant medicines create high quality products. These companies should have integrity so that we get the most benefit. 

We want to trust in mother nature, after all. We want to get the most from these naturally occurring compounds. And it is clear that Mother Nature, and those that have passed on her traditions, have always known best. Science is following suit.

Practitioners of western medicine are realizing they may need to make some changes. Our ancestors maintained traditions created around plant medicine. They knew plant medicine could help us achieve health and wellness. Western medicine is realizing we should create new frameworks around this traditional knowledge.

Humans should have access to natural dietary supplements that are effective holistic treatments.

UPGRAID is a natural supplement. It is an organic proprietary blend of herbs that includes ashwagandha, turmeric, ginger root, and tart cherry. Created by a responsible company that has your best interests at heart.

UPGRAID has a number of health benefits and includes the ayurvedic ingredient Ashwagandha. This proprietary blend of plant medicine reduces inflammation caused by daily stress and illness or injury. Reducing inflammation is also important to help relieve daily aches and pains. UPGRAID is also high in antioxidants which help prevent illness and promote healing.

Comment 1

Samuel Salamay on

Hi Helene. I am hoping to see other gr8 products from you and your team. Very educational presentation too. Happy you published on my 70th BDAY

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