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BellaOnline's Allergies and Colds Editor

Supplement wisely

About 80 percent of people worldwide rely on some form of herbal medicine, according to the World Health Organization. How can you ensure that you are spending your money wisely if you choose herbal supplementation for allergies?

If you decide to try herbal remedies, one of the best places to start is with your doctor/healthcare practitioner or pharmacist. You might want to look for a doctor who specializes in functional medicine, or a nutritionist/health coach familiar with dietary healing. Ask for their recommendations and brands/doses to try.

However, many people don’t consult their doctor/pharmacist. About 70 percent of people taking herbal medicines never tell their doctor.

If this sounds like you, keep these things in mind:

•Supplements are unregulated. As a result, they are often mislabeled and may contain additives, fillers and contaminants not listed on the label.

•Beware of miracle claims, such as “long-lasting” or work “rapidly” in minutes or hours.

•Some herbs may cause allergic reactions or interact with conventional drugs which make it important to consult with your doctor or pharmacist.

•Avoid products marked primarily in a foreign language. If you don’t understand what’s in the package, don’t buy it.

•Read labels carefully. Some supplements contain things like wheat, soy or other common allergens that you might be trying to avoid.

If you go the supplement route, be wise in their use.

•Focus on food first. Your food choices can help reduce your body’s overall inflammation. Eat fruits, vegetables and other whole foods rather than processed foods.

•Try one supplement at a time. My healthcare provider always follows this rule when prescribing a supplement because you can’t really access one’s effectiveness if you are taking six at a time.

•Take as few supplements as possible to meet your needs.

•Do some research on examine.com or other website. Examine.com offers free, unbiased research into supplement effectiveness.

•Don’t take a supplement just because it works for your friend. What works for someone else may not be what you need. You are unique and need what works for you. Take the time to do the research and find out.

•Finding the best price is not always the best approach. You focus should be on quality. However, sometimes you can find a specific brand at a lower price by doing some comparison shopping.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Sheree Welshimer. All rights reserved.
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