Herbs and Supplements

Herbal medicine
The therapeutic use of plant preparations with the aim to prevent disease, enhance health and alleviate suffering. Herbal remedies have been used in many cultures since ancient times. Today about one-quarter of pharmaceutical preparations contain at least one active ingredient extracted from plant sources. Herbal medicine as practiced today is a blend of traditional herbal knowledge and modern medical science. There is evidence of synergistic effects when different herbs are combined so herbs are more often prescribed as mixtures than a single herb.

Generally speaking, herbal remedies are safe but can sometimes cause side effects. These can include stomach upsets, sleeplessness and pains in your muscles or joints. Some herbal remedies may also interact with your prescribed medication. Some herbs may be beneficial for arthritis, but the evidence is inconclusive. It is best to avoid self-prescribing and consult with a suitably qualified practitioner and check with your doctor before starting the treatment to avoid any side effects and herb-drug interactions.

Professional bodies
New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists

They are used to supplement, not replace, a healthy diet. There is more to your nutritional requirements than single nutrients and these are usually best consumed packaged in their wholefood source. Food comes with a whole lot of other vitamins, minerals, fibre, fats, protein, carbs and other compounds that are good for your health. Chewing and digesting real food is an important part of feeling full and keeping our teeth strong too!

Some people need to supplement their diet for various reasons, and some people try supplements as a complementary therapy for their health condition. We’ve put together a guide to herbal medicine and supplements commonly taken by people with arthritis.

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