While herbal supplements are extremely popular today, they may not be right for everyone.
And there are warnings attached from doctors and nutritionists.
Attractively packaged and promising a world of health benefits, many of the herbal supplements available on the market are extremely potent, doctors and nutritionists say, and should be taken with care and under medical advice.
Americans spend $35 billion a year on herbal supplements, vitamins and minerals, according to Preventative Medicine Reports.
Case in point: Lori McClintock, 61, the wife of California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, died in December after suffering “adverse effects” from taking the herbal supplement white mulberry leaves, according to a Sacramento County coroner’s report. .
The specific cause of death was listed as “dehydration due to gastroenteritis due to adverse effects of ingestion of white mulberry leaves,” according to the reports.
Lori McClintock “was found unconscious in her locked residence by her husband,” and the day before her death, “complained of an upset stomach,” according to the coroner’s report.
No suspicious circumstances were found.
People “commonly use white mulberry for diabetes,” as noted by WebMd.com.
They also say it is used for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the common cold, and many other conditions, “but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.”
Medical professionals weighed whether people should take over-the-counter herbal remedies and supplements, and if they do, what precautions they should take.
“Herbal supplements don’t have a lot of research to back them up,” registered dietitian and personal trainer Jenny Champion, of Red Bank, New Jersey, told Fox News Digital by email.
“If you’re putting something into your body on a regular basis and in moderate to high doses, having solid research backing up its health claims is a must,” he added.
“Always talk to your doctor about herbal supplements before trying them.”
Nothing about “everything you eat or drink” being processed by “your body’s filter: your liver,” he said, if you “constantly overload it with supplements,” it could actually do your body more harm than good.
Champion also said that herbs can interfere with certain medications by “increasing or decreasing the effectiveness of your prescription.”
Either way, he continued, “the results can be deadly. Always talk to your doctor about herbal supplements before trying them.”
Dr. Taylor Arnold is a registered dietitian and nutritionist in Gilbert, Arizona who shares information on his website, GrowingIntuitiveEaters.com.
She told Fox News Digital via email that when considering supplements, it’s best to “use a trusted brand that does third-party testing and adheres to good manufacturing practices (called GMPs).”
He continued: “Studies examining the purity of herbal supplements frequently find that they are mislabeled or contain substances not on the label.”
Recommending that people “always talk to your doctor if you’re taking herbal supplements,” Arnold noted that “many supplements interfere with medications or are contraindicated in certain medical conditions.”
Warning that there is “very limited safety data on herbal supplements in pregnancy and in children,” he advised people to “use extra caution in this population, or just avoid them altogether.”
He added: “The placebo effect is very powerful and applies to everyone. This is likely to play a role in many supplements, not just herbal ones.”