HerbsAreDrugs ~ Home


Understand... all medicinal herbs ARE DRUGS, plant-derived DRUGS, without exception.

Most modern drugs were derived from the chemicals discovered in certain herbs over the years. Many can be quite amazing. However, herbs really are drugs, and we need to regard them seriously; with awareness and caution, especially when putting them in our own body... or that of loved ones (humans or animals).

There is often a knowledge gap of different potencies, processing risks, and consistency of ingredients. Those differences are very real risks, which are often ignored (by both the manufacturer and consumer). Sadly, it's either not discussed in most cases, completely unknown, and often totally neglected on most labels, and in any marketing. 

Today's marketing often promotes magic, through some irrational hope or promise of instant gratification, instilling a false narrative mountain built on a mole hill of actual truth. This is even truer when it comes to 'natural' or 'organic.'

All too often using some bought & paid for celebrity as the 'spokes-person' endorsing a product they've never really used, don't honestly know anything about... wouldn't buy with their own money... just to get you to spend your money on 'it' (whatever 'it' may be). This goes way beyond just failing to really educate (all too common these days):

Some Common Myths:

Understanding truths

  1. If a substance is 'organic' and 'natural' it must somehow be magically safe, better, and effective. (FALLACY)

    Those promoting their product using over generalizing 'words' inaccurately are almost laughable; If it wasn't so potentially dangerous.

    Marketing misinformation leads to a slew of poorly defined concepts, which are easily misunderstood, misdirected, and completely contrary to any sense of reality among the educated people that honestly evaluate the science.  In some cases, it's pushing the border lines of fraud. 

    Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6 years.

    Remember: Hemlock is 'natural,' but will kill you! As are thousands of other 'natural' chemicals, and most 'heavy metals,' such as: lead, mercury, cadmium, and barium. Even arsenic, which is found in most mammals bodies in tiny, tiny portions (ppb - parts per billion), still exists in even the best supplements, and certain food products (cough, Brussels sprouts, Dark-meat fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines, bluefish, and swordfish), rice, rice-based food products (including cereal bars and energy shots), seaweed products and certain brands of juice). 
  2. Plants contain either nutrients and/or ‘natural’ chemical substances, some of which really can have significant pharmacologically activity. (TRUE) Some can absolutely be helpful, when collected with knowledge… consistently, and used wisely. For thousands of years, the secrets and usefulness of plant-based ‘remedies’ (as well as those known to be poisons) have been passed down, from medicine person to medicine person., generation to generation, This has been historically recorded, through virtually all cultures, for centuries. The 'healer' was vital to the community they lived in. 
  3. Most modern drugs manufactured today were originally created from the chemical compounds found in plants (TRUE). (there have been movies made on the reality of that topic).
  4. All 'DRUGS' that 'reach the market' happened for a reason, (mostly true). There was usually a history of positively helping ‘treat’ or ‘mask’ certain symptoms, for a certain problem. There was some hope or promise for some treatment, improvement, a cure... OR extending the LIFE... over some disease, symptom, or chronic ailment.
  5. Celebrity holding up product in an advertisement, telling you how great that product is... really knows about that product, how it helped, effected, or benefitted them personally... and that it's safe for you, and can benefit you too. (FALSE)  The reality, in the vast majority of celebrity endorsements, is that celebrity is getting paid big bucks to 'represent' and 'read' (act) a pre-written script... and they didn't know squat about the product prior their agent telling them of the try-out, or reading of the script, or actually being hired. Further, other than getting paid a pile of money, to 'represent' and read a script (they didn't write), they really don't know anything about the product... often never used, or actually benefitted from the product (other than that pay check)... but ad agencies and companies pay for that type of stuff, and consumers still fall for it. 

'Drugs' are BIG BUSINESS! It doesn't matter, whether pharmaceutical or medicinal herbs, are both tens of billions of year industries. Just in America, big pharma generates over $200B a year, and herbal remedies are pushing $100B a year.  Yes, B = billion. 

  1. Pharmaceutical Drugs are closely regulated, filled with warnings, side effects, and still aren't safe with their undocumented issues sometimes showing up years later (despite getting FDA approval to be sold). Vioxx, Fen-phen, and Ephedrine were prime examples of the FDA's failures.
  2. Medicinal Herbs generally appears safe, but are usually (really) clinically unproven for anything other than generally not causing deaths within the short study periods (many are actually proven to not be as function as most companies claim). Few any better or safer than the prescriptions they claim to be replacing.

The FDA's interventions include:

~ permitting new drugs (at an estimated manufacturing (mfg) cost of OVER $1B dollars per drug/device approval) today.
~ regulations (and fines),
~ controlling manufacturer speech (including labeling; limiting what can be said by manufacturer's, marketing, and advertising companies selling product).

~ impose prescription requirements (without seeing the patient, knowing the case, or otherwise considering the reason the medical professional wanted to use a certain or different protocol).

As a consumer, you really do need to get as many facts about medicine you're putting in your body as you can, before deciding on anything without professional recommendations.

A DRUG is "any chemical, or combination of chemicals, which causes biological activity above and beyond purely nutritional value, or as labeled by the FDA."

(with a few exceptions: insulin, B12 injections, and folic acid (over 1mg), and certain other nutrients and ingredients  'natural' (to the body) are still regulated as 'drugs' by the FDA - to limit abuse and misuse...  because too much CAN hurt you).


Webster's Definition of 'DRUG' is:

  • a : a substance used as a medication or in the preparation of medication
  • b: according to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
  •         (1) : substance recognized in an official pharmacopoeia or formulary
  •         (2) : substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. Such as prescription drugs, drugs for treating high blood pressure.
  •         (3) : a substance, other than food, intended to affect the structure or function of the body 
  •         (4) : a substance intended for use as a component of a medicine, but not a device or a component, part, or accessory of a device .

We support all responsible and ethical efforts to seek, research, evaluate, and create virtually anything and everything that has a potential to treat or cure any disease, or reducing suffering.

We have a personal and invested interest in helping improve life and longevity, for ourselves and our loved ones... but also you, our fellow human beings. We often look for potential in substances (and/or combinations thereof), which might safely help achieve those goals. It would be amazing and awesome to have a cure for cancer... some 'magic pill' (injection or vaccine) to end suffering and/or diseases. Science has proven, many times throughout history that the key is often in vitamins, minerals, and key nutrients that are natural and normal to the body, already commonly found within the body, and stuff the body actually needs to survive, thrive, and heal.

It would be interesting to have the opportunity to live as long as a Giant Tortoise, a Redwood, or a Star System; or to have the natural healing power of some fish.

However, in seeking answers, inventing, creating, researching... to achieve the most benefit for the health & safety of the general public, there should be adequate and uniform standards that small companies and independent researchers can also adhere to, without being forced to either sell out to big pharma, or work in the grey areas of government regulations. 

Safety is a valid and important concern, but so are RATIONAL regulations that stop allowing wrongs to thrive, while silencing so many brilliant minds that don't work for 'Big Pharma' or jump through hoops only big business can honestly afford.

Surely there are common sense happy mediums, which can encourage research... and reward the brilliant people that stumble upon, find, or create new uses... methods... and advantages for different formulas that might help the human race... treat diseases, or otherwise limit or eliminate sickness and healthcare issues. 


Yes, companies should have safety concerns for the quality of the ingredients they use in their product; and consumers should expect some rational accountability, especially when ingredients come from countries most American's can't safely drink the water or eat fresh vegetables from the commercial fields in that nation.  (However, spring 2018, the tainted E.coli outbreak with Romaine Lettuce, was traced back to a mega production farm in Yuma, AZ. Serious and repeated washing, prior to consumption, *might* have helped). 

Bulk ingredients should be tested for containments, heavy metals, and have some consistency standards someone with a nutritionist background can actually justify. Much information and science already exists... and sadly is often ignored by many 'product buyers' in stores, opting to reward those big advertising budgets, regardless of quality, safety, or effectiveness. Consumers just have to take the time to look beyond the smoke & mirrors, big ad campaigns, and avoid products using celebrities being paid to promote stuff they didn't actually spend their own money on or use prior to being hired. 

Just to be very clear, personally, I have nothing against herbs that are high-quality, safely, and consistently manufactured... when used correctly, and marketed responsibly.

I understand that many botanicals (plants) are plant-derived pharmaceuticals which represent the foundation of, and are a vast reservoir for, many biologically significant chemicals that can often - and actually - impact life, health, and treat some ailments... or mask symptoms.

Nature has been a very real science laboratory since the beginning of man-kind.

The Chinese, Celtics, Mongols, Native Americans, and virtually every culture since the beginning of human history learned and passed on 'natural cures' and 'treatments' for assorted problems. Some actually worked wonders... some were far less than consistent or perfect, and some where dangerous, or just symptom maskers. Others merely offered a placebo affect for the limited few.

Technology has, in most cases, perfected the 'good' natural chemicals. Making them more consistent in potency, purity, and function. 

There is a long list of herbs, which act as ‘blood thinners’ OR interfere with clotting.

Here are a few herbs, still commonly found in supplements sold for 'daily use' that should be a valid concern (and warning flag) for all consumers:

(listed in alphabetical order) angelica, anise, arnica, asafetida, bog bean, capsicum, celery, chamomile, clove, danshen, fenugreek, feverfew, garlic, ginger, gingko, ginseng, horse chestnut, horseradish, licorice, meadowsweet, papain, passion flower, poplar, prickly ash, quassia, red clover, turmeric, wild carrot, wild lettuce, willow, and many others… but these all have science demonstrating they absolutely impact and can negatively effect blood flow, and clotting.

Most are not a serious problem, for healthy people in low doses, under normal circumstances. But... these are just some that are actually on the ‘watch list’ for anesthesiologists, and emergency room surgeons, because of their direct impact on the heart and blood flow, especially in emergency and surgical situations.  

To complicate matters further, many people are getting several of these herbs at the same time, on a pretty regular basis, in their cocktail of daily supplements. More often with those people that are actively using herbal supplements, and products labeled as ‘all natural’ pain, control, or quick healing promoters. People, especially those with clotting and pressure issues, should be extra careful with any ingredients that can influence clotting and bleeding. Awareness is key.

Yes, there should be appropriate warnings (listing all known and suspected real concerns) for all pharmacologically active substances used in a product which can be potentially dangerous if over used, abused, or there is an emergency situation.

  • If it thins blood, THAT SHOULD BE ON THE LABEL!
  • If it alters something in the brain, brain stem, or spinal column... THAT SHOULD BE ON THE LABEL! 
  • If it changes how other medications or treatments react, there should be a real warning...
  • ~ a list of all KNOWN, suspected, dangers and valid concerns. Much like the VEARS database for vaccines. 

There should be some balance... and common sense employed... as well as real consumer education.

Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients natural TO THE BODY should be regulated (governmentally) differently than 'ingredients' that have 'drug activity' (pharmacological activity). The difference being, those 'nutrients' natural to the body shouldn't be burdened with over regulation, so long as reasonable safety concerns exist in the company (and their formula).

There really should be higher standards and far stricter regulations on EVERY NUTRIENT that comes from ANY COUNTRY other than America or Canada - vitamins, minerals, additives, and every type of herb (spice, botanical, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical). Regardless of form... whether food, ingredient, or topical... AMERICA SHOULD COME FIRST for American consumers, and ingredients produced in countries we couldn't safely and readily drink their drinking water or eat their raw vegetables, SHOULD HAVE HIGHER STANDARDS OF TESTING for safety, consistency, and evaluating contaminants!

There should also be a listing for the source(s) of any and all health claims made for any such products, and the comparisons should be comparing 'apples to apples, and oranges to oranges' ... and those comparing apples to oranges (rocks, rust, or some other substance) should be slapped with JAIL SENTENCES for those purposefully misinforming the general public (since public spankings aren't allowed, and fines only allow the rich companies to carry on)! Nutrients, especially minerals, have a LAST NAME (form), and it really does matter, to bio-availability, absorption, and usefulness to the body.

Botanicals have different significant factors also, such as WHERE & HOW the 'herb' was sourced: not only country of origin, but bud, flower, leaf, stem, root... died, ground, etc. All those things really matter, and create some vital differences to potency, function, and usefulness to a given body.

There should also be some real and significant WARNINGS about 'daily prolonged use' (over-use, misuse, and abuse) that most OTC (over the counter) retail marketers don't seem to care about these days.

The usefulness of plant-based ‘remedies’ has been passed on for thousands of years, and documented for a few centuries. Many of the modern drugs we have today, were originally created from the chemicals found in plants that helped some problem or another. Most plants contain either nutrients and/or ‘natural’ chemical substances, some of which really do have significant pharmacologically activity, and either has been, or can be, exploited for medical use. 

Herbs have little to no nutritional value, but they do contain various chemicals, some with very specific biological activity within a body. Therefore, Herbs are drugs. The distinction between medicinal herbs and pharmaceuticals is completely a fallacy.

However, Medicinal Herbs are typically marketed based upon tradition and anecdotal testimonials with insufficient scientific evidence for safety or efficacy, consistency, potency, or actual limitations to the use. 


In short, most all drugs are dangerous when misused, or over used, and there are no 'drugs' that belong in a daily supplement for a prolonged period of time. In general, because of the general lack of consistency from company to company, from batch to batch, country to country, medicinal herbs are absolutely less safe, inherently more toxic, and far less healthful than more pharmaceuticals.

Medicinal herbs, as with all drugs, are seldom ever recommended or prescribed for daily prolonged use by educated professionals, because the majority WILL result in 'the RANTS' (one or more of the following):
  • R - Resistance or immunity (you need more and more to accomplish the same thing).
  • A - Addiction.
  • N - Negative interaction with other drugs ... or treatment processes. 
  • T - Toxic effect, build up, or overdose (often slowly impacting the liver or kidneys, even the heart and brain, over months or years). 
  • S - Serious Side Effects. 
The reality is that negative effects may take days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years. A lot depends on just exactly what might be causing the negative, as well as the individual body, the quantity taken, a person's diet and exercise routine. It is also important if any drugs, or other supplements are being used, quality of the ingredients ingested, and the specific drugs and herbs used... as well as, where it came from, and how it was sourced, produced, and processed.
The one thing that is certain is that every single drug in existence whether 'natural' or synthetic... DRUGS will eventually cause one or more of the above four problems if they are overused, misused, or abused, and even when used daily for more than a few days at a time. Even Echinacea, which is one of the best 'natural' immune system boosters available from nature, is recommended at no more than 3 weeks (21 days) on... and at least 10 days off... or the body WILL BECOME IMMUNE TO IT!

For those reasons, under no circumstances do herbs belong in daily, prolonged supplementation! While there are some medicinal herbs that are, in the correct dose, with the correct processing, and the correct usage, very beneficial... especially in hormonal balances, inflammation, and pain regulation. In general, medicinal herbal products are poorly regulated DRUGS that have variable ingredients (despite the label claims), different doses (actually), often have serious contaminants, and many really are incorrectly labeled. Many either don't really work, or merely work by 'masking' or blocking the symptoms.

Just because things are 'natural' doesn't mean that they are natural to the body, or that they are good, safe or any better than the synthetic versions. The use of some herbs can be life-saving, under the right circumstances and wise use. While, many have proven to be dangerous, and even life-threatening, really... when used as many of the marketers today (tv, radio, magazine, internet) tell people to 'use' them with so few limits, concerns, and contraindications listed.

For example, a person taking a regular dose of ginko biloba, turmeric, and a long list of other 'herbal' remedies cannot undergo certain major surgeries because they could bleed to death.

Many herbal remedies will absolutely interfere with anesthesia (in the event of a surgery)... either increasing its effectiveness, or interfering with it's ability to block the pain, or otherwise 'put the person under.' 

Many medicinal herbs have been shown to actually change the 'uptake' and strength of different medications, vitamins, and even common nutrients necessary to a healthy body.

Source and Processing are also vital, Some herbal products really do have unhealthy and potentially dangerous levels of heavy metals (often found in cheap minerals, and plants grown in soils from counties that have water 'we' (Americans) couldn't drink, using fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides long since outlawed in most countries... and ultimately, just aren't very regulated for their quality control). While 'heavy metals' do not have an immediate effect, science has proven they can build up in in the body, especially the liver, kidneys, and brain... until the impacted organ stops working correctly.

Some herbs, commonly marketed as being beneficial, have severely damaging long term effects on the body. Not all are life-threatening, but many really can cause significant problems and reduce the quality of life when misused, overused, or abused. 

For instance, yucca, promoted as being great for relieving pain and inflammation, contains steroid saponins, chemicals that are directly related to the steroids, which can actually cause joint degeneration with daily, prolonged use.

Understand, since plants can't fight off insects or animals that want to eat them, some plants contain chemicals that cause changes in the way the predator's body works. These chemicals do many different things in the body that eats them.

Some act like the body's own hormones (like testosterone, estrogen, even steroids), while some actually attack the body's immune system.

Depending on the specific plant (chemicals), the amount eaten, contaminants allowed, frequency of the dosing, and the size and type of animal or person, ingestion of medicinal herbs really can be dangerous... and many actually have some scientifically documented cases of seriously negative interactions, and/or consequences, including death, abortions, seizures, or an altered activity of the nervous system.

Many herbs can also be used as antibiotics and anti-fungals, because they can also kill bacteria and fungus.

Most 'medicinal herbs' are inconsistently grown, some commercially grown using undocumented fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides... irresponsibly harvested, and/or processed without many quality control conditions.

A manufacturer can reduce production costs of ingredients (whether vitamin, mineral, nutrient, or herbal), use exactly the same name and 'claim' for purity, yet produce something that is very different in potency and bioavailability.

Nutrition and health products are part of a tricky multi-billon dollar industry. Although it appears that nearly any company can 'jump in,' not all companies have truly effective products, ethical values, and an honest NUTRITIONAL BACKGROUND.

Most 'product' studies are funded BY THE MANUFACTURER of that product, which has an absolute vested interest, therefore reason to skew the facts and selectively pick which points of fact (and numbers) to focus on (and which to avoid). There should be at least two years of safety studies involving NEW INGREDIENTS used in a product that hasn't been previously studied by some independent third-party, college or university, somewhere in the world (not funded by the company wanting the ingredient approved). Understand, most 'nutrients' and 'herbs' have a lot of data on them. The studies should include biopsies of the organs, especially brain, liver, kidneys, and heart of test animals (monogastric mammals, such as mice, rats, pigs, etc. as appropriate).

No one can obviously know IF there are any dangers or damage from an ingredient (especially with drug activity) when there is daily prolonged use for months and years... unless the studies last that long. Anything else is just speculation, and purposeful overdosing to gain some quick 'safety parameters.' 

It is vital that safe and ethical studies were done ON INGREDIENTS, preferably by third party science types that have no vested interest in the ingredient, product, or company(ies) selling the product. Otherwise... you, your loved ones, or someone know could be the next 'guinea pig.' A basic safety 'study' really should be on each and every INGREDIENT CONTAINED WITHIN THE PRODUCT! 


I know, that is completely contrary to what a many companies' marketing supplements, and drugs, tell you. Even different than what some people calling themselves 'doctors' attempt to tell you, but they are wrong... for the wrong reasons!

The negative effects may take days, weeks, months and, sometimes, even years.

A lot depends on three factors:

        ~ 1) the company - the quality, consistency, and accuracy of the label... and what is actually IN THE PRODUCT.

        ~ 2) the individual body, the quantity taken, a person's diet, other supplements being used, quality of the ingredients ingested, and the specific herb used.

        ~ 3) ENVIRONMENT – what the usual diet, water supply, exercise, and genetics are… can also have an impact upon how nutrients are used, stored, and expelled from a body.

The one thing that is certain is that every single drug in existence – whether 'natural' or synthetic – will eventually cause one or more of the above RANTS problems if they are overused, misused, or abused – and that includes daily use for more than a few weeks.

The number of products claiming to help this or that have been growing rapidly over the last 30 years. You can't avoid the array of advertisements claiming some 'magic bullet' or 'miracle cure' or will 'eliminate _______ problems' or 'cure ________' (you fill in the blanks).

Take a moment to step back and think, to ask questions, and do a little research. The basics don't need to be magic, or just a band-aide, or some other temporary symptom masker. 

Most people don't understand that advertisements claiming "It Works" really does have two very different - and often opposed meanings (click on the box to see the meaning):

and is the most common type, especially on store shelves. The reality is that all oral supplements offering a 'quick fix' are using ingredients (usually herbs: plant derived drugs) that merely mask, cover, or block the symptoms. While they can help with the pain, they ultimately allow the body to continue getting worse, and often causing further injury or problems.

by supplying the body the building blocks necessary to help the body heal itself (when possible), in forms it can readily use, which is the best long term option.


This second option is not the 'quick fix.' It does not eliminate the pain and suffering in hours or days, but over time... as healing occurs. But it is far better for the body.

(Hint: if you're in pain, use pain killers as prescribed, as necessary, but never daily, for prolonged periods of time!)

Please don't misunderstand. There are some good and beneficial herbs, but they are ALL PLANT-DERIVED DRUGS and should not be used each and every day for a prolonged period of time.

For these reasons herbs do not belong in any daily supplementation intended for prolonged use!

Those companies manufacturing, promoting, marketing, selling, and delivering such should honestly list proper safe use, all known side effects, any valid concerns, and real potential dangers when misused, overused, interacting with other medications or treatments. A central database, like the VEARS (for vaccines) has been established, and is monitored by the FDA. Frankly, I'd prefer it to be monitored by a NUTRITION based group, not directly related to the 'big pharma' or 'FDA.'  Sadly, consumers tend to overuse and misuse, or get caught up in the 'ingredient of the month' club, fad of the season, or some celebrity endorsement for a product they never really bought or used themselves. All of this is why some groups push for more regulation of dietary supplements and drugs.

More sadly, the vast majority of herbs have little to do with 'diet' and are NOT 'natural' to the body (or daily diet). 


People really need to understand, and remember, just because things are 'natural' doesn't mean that they are natural to the body or that they are good to use daily. Or that they will remain 'good' if over used, misused, or otherwise abused.

Certain plants, like grass, hay, wheat, as well as most fruits and vegetables... were initially designed 'as food' stuff, to 'nourish' a body, and are things mammals can usually safely eat... but there really are some people that have very real allergies to certain types of food stuff.  Peanuts are one of the most common allergies here in America. 

Natural isn’t always 'safe' or necessarily any better than the processed, manufactured, or even the synthetic versions.

Just because things are 'natural' doesn't mean that they are natural to the body or that they are good. Both are concepts of scientific reality that are contrary to a lot of companies' marketing material, and what a number of seemingly good people will attempt to tell you.

They either don't know any better, or are like that proverbial old west 'snake oil salesman' that just doesn't care what the truth really is, so long as they can make a buck (or 50) from you.

Some herbs have a proven history of really being life-threatening under a variety of circumstances.

For example, a person taking a regular dose of just ten milligrams (10mg) of gingko biloba, or many other 'herbs'; spices, can NOT suffer head trauma or undergo certain major surgeries because they could bleed to death (God help them if they were also taking some type of blood thinner, or blood pressure medicine at the same time).

Turmeric is another amazing 'medicinal herb' (especially when combined with curcumin and black pepper)... BUT it too is a blood thinner, even at low doses, and too much really can hurt you... especially if have an emergency or you're already on some type of blood thinners.

(These type of herbs can affect your pet also, and that pet can’t tell you they are having a problem).

Any ingredients that thin the blood or alter It should be used wisely, with awareness and caution. 


There are simply too many factors to make assumptions about herbs.
Far too many variables that prove daily prolonged use is UNSAFE.

So, when using products containing herbs:

  • Be Careful and Aware
  • Do not be reassured by claims that a product is 'natural'
  • Avoid paid 'celebrity endorsed' supplements, because odds are that celeb didn't really use, try, or buy that product... but they sure want you to! 
  • Look up the ingredients, Know what you are taking, using, putting in your body (or that of a loved one).
  • Specifically look up CONTRAINDICATIONS and known SIDE EFFECTS 
  • Research the proper use of those herbs (especially limitations, and any negative interactions with any other herbs, drugs, or nutrients), 
  • Remember to apply the R.A.N.T.S. to every ingredient you use that has drug activity.  
  • Keep a LIST OF ALL drugs you're taking - whether prescribed or herbal, in case of emergency. 

Despite a string of negative study results regarding a variety of herbal ingredients, the 'holistic medicine' and herbal remedy industry continues to rake in tens of billions of dollars every year... filling store shelves with either garbage that doesn't really work, or 'works' merely by blocking symptoms (not what most of the products claim they are doing). The companies develop infomercials for the tv, radio, and facebook making an assortment of miracle claims, and uninformed consumers continue buying into the bait and switch game. 

  • Black cohosh and hot flashes (Newton et al. 2006),
  • Echinacea and cold symptoms (Barret et al. 2002; Taylor et al. 2003; Turner et al. 2005),
  • GAIT (glucosamine/chondroitin) -(NIH et al. 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 - is a prime example. One of the largest, multi-year nutritional studies rigorously involving thousands of patients and ultimately resulting in no real positives (aside from no one died from it)... despite all the money and effort tossed at attempting to justify the sales of glucosamine/chondroitin.)
  • Gingko biloba and memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease (Snitz et al. 2009),
  • HA (oral hylaronic acid) (Weider, 2006, 2008)
  • Saw palmetto and benign prostatic hypertrophy (Tacklind et al. 2009)
  • Silymarin (Fried et al. 2012, an extract of milk thistle, an herb commonly used to treat liver disease, due to chronic hepatitis C that has not responded to standard therapy with interferons).
  • St. John’s Wort, (Wurglics et al 2001 - which is supposed to be a big herbal remedy win, has been shown to have no effect on moderate or severe depression, although the jury is still out on minor depressive symptoms; see Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group 2002)

Medicinal herbs have no business being protected, or included, under DSHEA (the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act). Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients 'natural to the body' are one thing, but medicinal herbs can have very real pharmacological activity, and even life threatening drug-drug interactions. Further, medicinal herbs can have exactly the same type of potential for side effects - as well as toxicity - as any commercially prescribed drug. OTC herbs' danger *might* be mitigated slightly, only by the fact that most herbal products generally contain low doses of active ingredients (when used as directed).

Sadly, the very real dangers and honest negative studies seem to have little impact on the sales of herbal products and supplements with the wrong form of active ingredients overall (although they may affect the relative popularity of specific herbs to some extent).  

Store shelves, and advertising are riddled with garbage products. Companies can market medicinal herbs without any prior approval from the FDA or need to provide any evidence of safety or effectiveness of the ingredients they use in their products.

The actual ingredients under some 'proprietary made up name' on the label, which means we might not even know what the exact active ingredients are... or what amounts there are.

Many herbal supplements tested off the shelf by a third party were found to NOT HAVE what the label claimed. Some companies even claim that their product supports the structure or function of the body in some way, as long as they don’t mention a specific disease by name. All of this amounts to some massive loopholes easily exploited by any unethical company.  

The result of allowing medicinal herbs to fall under DSHEA has been an explosion of herbs into the supplement industry, flooding the marketplace with useless products and false claims.

It would seem to be reasonable and responsible to require manufacturers and marketers of medicinal herbal products to actually prove their products are really safe, as well as effective for whatever they claim it treats. Not only is this not required under the current guidelines, but more importantly, companies can actually continue to market their herbs with claims that have been contradicted by major scientific studies funded by taxpayer dollars. One would think the Federal Trade Commission would step in, under the Truth in Advertising regulations, but that hasn't happened yet. 

For the most part, consumers are left to their own devices to sort out which products are likely to be useful... which is why consumers are seeing more celebrity endorsements, and rows of herbal supplements in chain stores.

For more information on herbal supplements, visit the following sites:

Dangerous Herbs

Thanks to scientists around the world, and resources made available through the internet like PubMed, WebMD, Dr. Miller's Nutritional Notes on MD's Choice,, and assorted other options... there really is some good science on-line. The problem is that there is also a lot of stuff that is less than honest regarding dangers, limits, and valid concerns. Less than scientific, with their number 1 goal selling, rather than education. 

The GAIT Study

The Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) was the largest randomized, placebo-controlled trial ever conducted, with results officially reviewed in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. The primary goal of the study was to investigate what glucosamine and/or chondroitin actually did, and how it worked in a body, and if it effected osteoarthritis. 

Joints Report.com

Signup for a FREE Report covering many different ingredients COMMONLY FOUND IN JOINT SUPPLEMENTS: The Good, Bad, and Useless ingredients, based on scientific studies, and professional evaluations, studies, and years of experience treating patients. 

Bad Drugs
(withdrawn from FDA approval)

While there aren't nearly as many as one would think, there are quite a few. The list is interesting, and some are still sold in the USA... but for different purposes or under a different name. 

Maximizing Your Supplements

Yes, there really are things we, as end users, can do to maximize the supplements we do take. This is a list of such things, and should help you maximize your supplements benefit while reducing the waste, cost, and issues. 

MD's Choice

Since 1995, this website has helped end-users, students, and teachers around the world learn more about nutrition, health, fulfilling deficiencies, and obtaining some balance than most any other website out there. Education & Information was the #1 goal, offering quality products secondary..

Regardless of a person's IQ, the number of letters behind their name, or years of study... it's unreasonable for any people to expect any single 'doctor' to know everything, or think they honestly can consider every possible difference between patients, or even some of the contingency factors that absolutely change from case to case. That's why 'panels,' 'teams,' and 'groups' of educated heads are often best for most serious issues, disease intervention, and research... to share different knowledge, experience, and education to help solve problems.

Some important points to consider: 
  • Education - the average 'doctor' of medicine - whether for people or animals, takes an average of 8 to 12 YEARS of study, some even longer depending on the specialty. 
  • Data - there are thousands of scientific research projects, experiments, field studies, and clinical trials happening each and every year... in the private sector, and schools around the world. Many are inconclusive, not well designed, missing some vital part(s), not repeatable, disproven, or otherwise less than great. Some are amazing, important steps, toward the future advancements in medicine. However, even with speed reading (combined with speed understanding, and some miraculous ability to perfectly apply what's good... 
  • the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR), which is found in nearly every doctor's office (and often home). This one manual, updated and re-published yearly, is now almost 3,600 pages of fine print. There is also a PDR for Nutrition, and another for Herbs. Anyone can read these books, but to really comprehend and benefit from 100% of the information contained within, a person would doctorate in medicine, pharmacology, chemistry, toxicology, mathematics, and statistics. As those are are at the core of the information contained in that 'reference' book, and the assorted 'footnotes,' references, and abstracts, and peer-reviewed studies referenced in the generalizations it discusses. 


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© 1997 - 2018 MD's Choice, Inc. and respective holders, All information and graphics found on this site are copyrighted, and either owned or licensed by Terry Mercer. May NOT be used without the express written permission of the respective holder. All rights reserved. Any questions regarding this Website, links, suggestions, or comments… please contact us. 

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. Nothing herein is for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription, or cure of any disease or health condition. If you have medical concerns, please see a real licensed doctor, who can actually see you... run any necessary tests, and focus on your specific needs, symptom(s), and unique situation. 

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