What to look for in a health product

Today, the choice of alternatives in health care is enormous. So where do we start?

What are the differences between buying from the supermarket, the chemist or health food shop? Most minerals, vitamins and herbs come from the same place and are then made up into individual combinations. An example of this is Tasmanian Lavender. There is only one place that makes the oil and ships to other oil companies throughout Australia. When looking at the difference in price of mineral and vitamins this is due to how much mineral or vitamin is in the formula, and in what combination. There are several areas that need to be addressed when making a choice for a pre-made therapeutic internal formula. These are:

1. Use-by-date

2. TGA number

3. Batch number

4. $. Name and address of the producer and/or supplier

5. Directions for use

6. Possible contra-indication or cautions

7. What it does not contain

8. Product name must be clearly printed on the container.

9. Storage information

It is essential that only the recommended dosage be taken unless under the supervision of a health care practitioner.

Herbal liquids generally tend to be more concentrated than herbal tablets and should always be taken with care. Natural doesn’t always mean safe.

Topical applications such as creams, gels and ointments can cause irritation if they are applied at incorrect times and combinations. An example of this is when a child has hot burning rash and we want to soothe the effected area, we may use chickweed cream rather than chickweed ointment because the ointment will heat up the area and can increase the hot burning sensation.

When using herbs, be sure what part of the herb you want to use. If you use the leaf instead of the root, then you may get a different reaction than you where expecting. Generally, the root of the plant has a stronger effect. It will depend greatly what action you want as to which part of the plant you use.

Herbal teas, as a rule, have a lesser therapeutic effect than the liquid extract or tincture of the same plant. This is a relatively safe starting point when dealing with herbs.

The health food shop and chemist in general are still the best place to get your over-the-counter products because most have well trained staff, and some have qualified Naturopaths who can answer any questions that you may have.

Hope this is helpful information.

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