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What are the Different Types of Herbal Pills?

By S. Young
Updated May 17, 2024
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Herbal pills are natural alternatives to chemically produced prescription medicine, vitamins, and other supplements. A chemically produced medicine is one that is created using elements that are not normally formed or processed by the human body. The human liver must process all medicines and many types of medicines are hard on the liver. Different types of herbal pills include basic herbs, such as garlic, cinnamon, and turmeric; however, herbal supplements can be made from other non-herb items, such as plants, flowers, and tree bark. Herbal alternative medicine can also contain minerals, such as zinc and magnesium, that the body needs to function properly.

Generally, herbal pills are widely used in holistic health methods. Holistic medicine is the theory that people can heal themselves partly or wholly from inside out. Also, the theory posits that most remedies strictly derived from nature are better to consume than those with chemical additives.

Herbal supplements typically are available in other forms that just pill form. They can be tablet-shaped, crushed into powders and placed in capsules, or even liquefied into tinctures for drinking. Plus, they may also contain homeopathic remedies. The practice of homeopathy goes by the philosophy that if minuscule portions of a disease are added to something a person ingests, such as a pill, it may actually prevent the same disease from occurring by making the body immune to it.

There are herbal pills, capsules, tablets, and liquid forms for almost every ailment. It is not common, however, for traditional physician training to include alternative medicine, holistic health, or homeopathy, especially in Western cultures. A physician or nutritionist typically has to seek alternative or complementary training in these areas.

Natural herbal pills are often used to replace traditionally made vitamins, body-building supplements, or remedies people take for everyday ailments, such as body pain, flu, and colds. There also are herbal pills for chronic ailments, such as insomnia, anxiety, sinusitis, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Herbal supplements can sometimes effectively replace and prevent the over-use of antibiotic pills. There are some herbal pills that can help restore the body’s own good bacteria after taking necessary antibiotics. Also, some herbal pills help cleanse organs, such as the bladder, kidney, and liver, by removing infection or bacteria and toxins that can cause infections.

Pharmacies and grocery stores are adding herbal supplements to their inventories. Some of the supplements, however, may still be produced in commercial laboratories that use additives and filler, especially in the United States. Typically, the best places to purchase herbal medicine are natural health outlets or markets. Most natural health outlets have consultants that can help a person select the appropriate herbal medicine.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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