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The Rub on Herbal Supplement Regulation

by Jamelle Zablow-Moloney

24 March, 2023

The United States has a wobbly history with herbal supplements. There is a large air of distrust in the industry due to a lack of regulation, as well as a lack of use in the country’s medical system as a whole. Herbal supplements are not integrated into the formal heal care structure of the United States, yet thrive in use, research, and understanding in other countries across the globe.

Herbal supplements are integrated and widely accepted in various forms in Africa, In comparison, Europe, North and South America, and Asia. India’s healthcare system is integrated with the ancient art of Ayurveda, which inherently includes the regular use and consumption of medicinal plants. In Europe, the use of herbal supplements is more integrated into the formal medical model, and the practice is more widely accepted, making the use of herbal supplementation a common practice. The majority of the African continent flowers with the use of medicinal herbs and other plants and is also found to have the practice integrated into modern medical systems. In China, Traditional Chinese Medicine makes use of prescribing herbal supplements and is integrated into the modern medical system as it is in Japan and many other Asian countries.

Pharmaceuticals are highly regulated in the United States. Training, research, facility codes, testing, labeling, medical supplies; all tools and practices involved in America’s traditional health care model is regulated to the T. Medicine bottles are required to give you dosage instructions and warnings. There is a rigorous process of approval required by the FDA, and prescribing individuals have a required amount of training to complete before they are allowed to prescribe. Herbal supplements, however, are more thoroughly regulated in many countries worldwide in comparison to the United States. In the United States, supplements are considered to be unsafe until they are proven safe (1).

In the United States, all herbal supplements fall under the regulation of the DSHEA Act, the Dietary Supplement House, and the Education Act of 1994. Under DSHEA, there is ‘no pre-marketing approval needed, there are no chemical manufacturing controls needed, and there are no marketing reviews needed’ in order for an herbal supplement to reach the consumer market. There is no system of checks and balances in place for an industry that grosses over $10 billion per year in the United States alone. An herbal supplement can hit store shelves without testing, without a third-party review of safety, and without specifying pertinent information about the plant compounds contained within the supplement on its label. Supplements in the United States are widely unregulated, leaving the industry to rely on the trustworthiness of its producers for quality, safe herbal products. Because of this, it is important to do your research about the supplement you are seeking and the company that makes it before you consume it.

Choose supplements that are made by reputable companies or companies that delineate the gathering and processing methods of their products to ensure that you are purchasing from individuals who know how to extract and activate the compounds you are seeking to benefit from.

Check out the sister blog post on how to find safe herbal supplements for your healing journey here. If you have any questions about the supplements you are taking and are seeking help in determining if what you are taking is safe and effective for you, feel free to book a consultation with Jamelle any time! You can reach her at: or by texting 785-5232-9356

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