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Plant extracts offer health benefits for many conditions

Lana Bandoim's picture

Nature offers a large selection of plants that can heal or help many health problems. However, discovering the benefits of each plant extract continues to be a challenge while regulations often add more obstacles. Nevertheless, a registered pharmacist recently shared her list of beneficial plants and herbs for a variety of medical conditions.


Many plant extracts are viewed as natural remedies, but they can still be found on store shelves in neatly packaged bottles next to the vitamins or minerals. Their availability contributes to the large health industry that has formed around natural treatments. Although it is still important to read labels, research ingredients and check recalls, more people are turning to plants as their salvation.

Registered pharmacist Suzy Cohen reveals that red clover extract may help some women who are experiencing hot flashes. On the other hand, fennel extract may be the solution for some women who are suffering from menstrual cramps. Plants are able to treat or help multiple conditions such as the fight against obesity, and the extract from the Indian Coleus plant offers forskolin health benefits that include weight loss.

The purity of plant extracts plays an important role in how they affect the human body. This means starting at the farm level and making sure contamination with other plants or herbs does not occur. As the plants move through the processing and distribution chain, they must remain pure. Most companies and brands will test their extracts to make sure they are meeting the guidelines established for a particular product. They try to avoid pesticides or chemicals that can affect the wholesomeness of the plants.

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The extraction methods can vary depending on the brand, but there are common elements. Most brands attempt to create products within a certain concentration range before adding liquids or other ingredients. The FDA loosely regulates the plant extract industry by requiring products to be labeled properly without misleading statements, so consumers know exactly what they are buying. The organization frequently provides tips for proper manufacturing, processing and labeling, but it does not approve each product before it appears on the market.

Some people notice a difference between brands while others are sensitive enough to observe changes between two bottles of dandelion leaf extract from the same company. Plants can vary in their potency, so it is not unusual for different harvests to produce diverse results. Although most brands try to control this by testing items and following a set of standards, consumers need to be aware that nature cannot be managed completely.

Plant extracts can range from the exotic to the common, so it is easy to feel overwhelmed while staring at a shelf filled with products. From the ordinary eggplant to the unusual guarana, the options give more opportunities to find the right extract for a particular health concern. However, medical experts recommend proceeding with caution while staying aware of potential side effects. In addition, people who are taking medications may need to consult their doctors before trying a new supplement.

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