When it comes to nutritional supplements and herbs there is literally a MOUNTAIN of products for you to choose from!
Most elite multi ingredient natural health supplements have (at least) some herbal ingredients and these should be considered CRITICAL INGREDIENTS.
But are they the BEST and most EFFECTIVE clinically proven medicinal herbs available - offering you the WIDEST RANGE of disease-busting health benefits?
Not only are herbs able to treat specific medical conditions by tackling the root cause(s) in the body (unlike drugs which simply treat or mask only the symptoms), but they are being used by pro-active healthy people as a form of on-going preventative health-care due to their potent therapeutic properties.
This is an important consideration when you're selecting a nutritional vitamin supplement especially if your taking it to promote overall good health and wellness and guard against the onset of degenerative disease.
The problem of course is that the multitude of supplement choices available are far from equal with some having been put together very poorly by marketers, doctors and minimally qualified scientists.
The weak regulatory structure of the supplement industry has allowed this to happen. These types of supplements are not based on good science, let alone the latest cutting edge nutritional science which is constantly changing.
Many multi ingredient vitamin supplements contain poor choices of less effective (but cheaper) herbal ingredients, in the wrong forms and with insignificant potencies and amounts, far below the levels which have produced health benefits in credible clinical studies.
The industries best supplement formulators are bio-scientists and chemists who have individually produced hundreds of pharmaceutical and natural health formulations.
They understand every facet of the body including, how the active ingredients are going to reach their target cells, through what metabolic pathways, and what or if any molecular changes will take place on the way to the cells due to interaction with enzymes and stomach acids.
He/she must also understand the interaction of all the nutrients in the formula and what co-factors to include ensuring greater synergy for maximum efficacy.
That's why the best supplement formulators have a pharmaceutical background!
The wrong ingredients when combined can create new substances some of which are undesirable and even dangerous.
Did you know that certain herbs when combined can cancel each other out! What a waste of money for the consumer who is paying for ingredients that they ultimately don't get.
I know you want to avoid the useless, and middle of the road, barely effective supplements.
What you're up against are those clever marketing presentations of most supplement companies, especially the large US multinationals, which are designed to hide product weaknesses from you.
They wow you with fancy buzz terms and scientific lingo, which make their products seem a lot better than they really are.
These companies have huge shareholder pressure to constantly increase their bottom line. For example are you aware of the current (mid 2007) troubles of Usana, one of the industry's biggest and most well known US supplement manufacturers?
The purpose of my website is to reveal all of this to you and teach you what should be in supplements, why, and how to evaluate and compare supplements yourself without relying much on marketing literature from untrustworthy supplement manufacturers.
I know what supplement companies get up to because I used to work for a quality supplement manufacturer.
I know all the tricks of the trade and having researched supplements for years know all too well what should and shouldn't be in these products, particularly nutritional supplements and herbs.
I have access to some of the industry's leading bio-scientists. The scientist who formulated the multi ingredient supplement that my family and I use has produced over 170 new pharmaceutical and health supplement formulas!
Believe me when I tell you that the supplement I take really works. That's why not only my entire family use it but almost all of my relatives and many of my friends and professional colleagues as well. We all know The Secret!
To view the supplement that I use please follow this link.
Naturally you want to zero in on the absolute best vitamin supplements which contain the most effective medicinal herbs, in the right and safest forms and with suitable potencies and dose amounts.
So, I'll set out for you below exactly what you need to look for.
But firstly we need to start with some critical basics about herbs and then we'll look at the names of the best herbs.
Keep in mind that medicinal herbs are the oldest type of health-care known to man. Records show that ancient civilizations used herbs as natural cures extensively to treat almost every known illness. It's hard to argue with hundreds of years worth of recorded results!
A significant and growing body of clinical research now supports many of the long known therapeutic activities of various herbs.
A great deal of further research is needed however because only approximately 15 percent of the estimated plant species on our planet have been studied for medicinal use.
Most ingredients in supplements have a wide variance of potencies but particularly ingredients derived from plant sources such as herbs and herbal extracts. Herbs can have potencies anywhere from:
A few percent up to 99 %
Do you study the potencies of herbal ingredients when comparing supplements?.
The three most common forms of herbs are:
Which is the best form?
We still don't know for sure.
Whole herbs suggest a more holistic approach with multiple compounds in the herb containing various constituents working synergistically together. So there's probably more than one mechanism of action.
The problem is that scientists have identified and studied such a small number of all constituents in all plant species so we just don’t know what they all do or how they interact together.
It’s likely that some are of little to no medicinal use and are not worth having and paying for in a supplement. They may be taking up space in a tablet that could be more effectively used by other already proven active components.
As far as herbal extracts are concerned, science has shown that certain specific active ingredients produce significant health benefits. This is the pharmaceutical approach to health-care – looking at the pharmacological value of individual active ingredients.
I believe that when it comes to extracts containing proven actives it is logical to assume that these are preferable to unknown quantities in whole herbs.
Since herbal extracts target active ingredients, they are certainly many times more powerful than those in whole herbs. A problem however exists in that theamounts of these actives can vary tremendously depending upon the way herbs are grown and processed.
Some herbal extracts have been estimated to vary in potency 10,000-foldamongst various products from the same plant. (1)
So when dealing with nutritional supplements and herbs the need to study the potencies of plant sourced ingredients (herbs and phytonutrients) is clear.
Standardization is a process that supplement manufacturers rely on to ensure batch to batch consistency of herbal nutrition supplements.
Standardization has become the industry standard
This is your guarantee that for each and every bottle of supplements you buy any herbal extracts present will always have exactly the same potency. So once again when it comes to any nutritional supplements and herbs there is a need to study the label beyond a quick glance. Look for the words standardized herbal extracts.
Many less reputable supplement companies do not use standardized extracts because they are significantly more expensive than non-standardized extracts. Even some of the largest, most well known US based supplement companies slip some non- standardized extracts into their supplement formulas. Look through the rest of this site and you'll find out who they are!!
In the case of herbs containing actives with proven pharmacological benefits, standardized herbal extracts are what you want!
Herbal ingredients are most susceptible to contamination, some of which can be toxic or carcinogenic.
If you are interested in nutritional supplements and herbs then this should be of particular interest to you as the use of herbs requires strict preparation, handling and testing protocols in order to guarantee safety and effectiveness.
If you're interested in testing protocols, please follow this link to another page on this site where you can read about nutritional supplement testing
Nutritional supplements and herbs – but which herbs you're probably wondering. Let's look at the most effective herbs which you'll find in the best vitamin supplements.
They are the ones which can target all major systems and organs in your body including your brain and offer wider ranges of health benefits than other herbs.
Yes it's possible to get virtual all of those listed on this page (see below) in the one supplement - less of course the female support nutrients if you're using a formula for males and vice versa.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Turmeric Extract
Turmeric is a wonderful herb which has a long standing reputation as a potent medicinal herb capable of improving numerous health conditions. It is now being studied for its anti-cancer & tumor suppressing properties.
Turmeric is most well known over the longest period of time for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cleansing properties (detox). It also has pain reducing properties. Because of its ability to treat multiple health conditions turmeric is an absolute key herb that should be in your natural health supplement (in generous doses). Look for at least 150mg.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs - Ginkgo Biloba Extract
Ginkgo is primarily a neuro-nutrient and is the most commonly used nutrient to improve memory.
There is a great deal of clinical evidence, especially in Europe, supporting Gingko’s potential to boost memory and brain function. All quality multi ingredient health supplements should include some neuro-nutrients which target the brain and Gingko Biloba should definitely be one of them.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Green Tea Extract
Another fantastic, multi-purpose medicinal herb. Green tea can improve brain performance; treat stomach disorders, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. It is used as a diuretic and in combination products for weight loss.
Green tea appears beneficial in solid tumor cancers and to reduce the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and gastric cancer. It is also used to prevent skin damage and cancer related to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (e.g. sunburn) and other environmental causes.
Green tea also contains 2-4% caffeine or 10-80mg caffeine per cup. The caffeine in green tea acts as a central nervous system stimulant; increases blood pressure, heart rate and contractility; inhibits platelet aggregation; stimulates gastric acid secretion; and causes diuresis. The caffeine is also thought to be responsible for green tea's ability to improve cognitive performance.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf is a great herb that boosts your immune system as well as offering multiple health benefits.
Several research studies have recorded and reported on the effectiveness of olive leaf extract in several different clinical trials. For example the New York University School of Medicine has completed definitive tests that show that olive leaf extract is able to change the pathways of HIV type infections and may even reverse these conditions.
Research has also been done regarding olive leaf's s antioxidant benefits and shows that it possesses extremely high antioxidative qualities. It is a safe and valuable herb for not only strengthening the immune system but for providing anti bacterial and anti-viral effects. It should always be included in nutritionally complete, science-based supplements aimed at full body protection, superior antioxidant protection and overall wellness.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Bilberry Extract
Bilberry is a very expensive ingredient for supplement manufacturers to include so you usually only see it in the best vitamin supplements (at a maximum potency of 25%). Bilberry targets the health of your eyes by protecting against Macular Degeneration which is the #1 cause of blindness.
This is well established in dozens of independent studies. When comparing supplements be sure to check that they contain standardized bilberry extract and not bilberry powder which is very weak (and wasn't used in the studies).
Clinical evidence has shown that bilberry can:
The bioflavonoids in bilberry help to strengthen capillary walls and protect capillaries from damage while the naturally high levels of tannic acid, cinnamic acids and isoflavones offer additional eye benefits .
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Black Cumin Extract
Black cumin is a key medicinal herb. It is reported to have been used for over 2000 years.
Recordings mention it as far back as 1400 years. Black Cumin seed is used for treating gastrointestinal conditions including gas, colic, diarrhea, dysentery, constipation and hemorrhoids. It is also used for respiratory conditions including asthma, allergies, cough, bronchitis, emphysema, flu and congestion. Additionally, it is used as an anti-hypertensive, immuno-protectant and anti-cancer agent.
In allergic conditions Black Cumin seed may have antihistamine effects. Preliminary evidence suggests it may help minimize chemotherapy-induced decreases in hemoglobin and leukocyte counts. Black Cumin may be beneficial as an anticancer agent because according to preliminary studies it may inhibit stomach tumors, carcinoma and Ehrlich ascites carcinoma.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Ginger Extract
Ginger is another wonderful medicinal herb with a wide range of medical benefits. It has been found to be more effective than drugs at treating motion sickness and nausea. Ginger is useful in alleviating gastrointestinal distress, including nausea of pregnancy (powder). Recent studies have found that Ginger lowers blood cholesterol and reduces blood clotting.
Ginger has been shown to have significant effects against inflammation and platelet aggregation, important in cardiovascular health and arthritic conditions.
Some researchers speculate that certain constituents of ginger might inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX), important in pain relief. Ginger has been shown to relieve pain, improve joint mobility, decrease swelling and morning stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger is also a very effective antibiotic agent and strong antioxidant.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Gotu Kola Extract
Gotu Kola is used for reducing fatigue, improving memory, venous insufficiency including varicose veins, circulation, wound healing and increasing longevity.
Gotu Kola is also used for memory loss and as an aphrodisiac. The triterpenoid saponins in Gotu Kola seem to be involved in wound healing and decreasing venous pressure in venous insufficiency, whilst the asiaticoside and madecassoside have anti-inflammatory activity.
Gotu Kola extracts also seem to have antibacterial activity in vitro against various bacteria such as pseudomonas pyocyaneus, trichoderma mentagrophytes and entamoeba histolytica, and antiviral activity against herpes simplex type II. There is some interest in using Gotu Kola to treat cancer. Dried powder extracts of Gotu Kola exhibit cytotoxic and anti-tumor properties in preliminary studies.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Hawthorne Berry Extract
Professional grade supplements quite often help users with their high blood pressure and one of the chief ingredients for that is Hawthorne Berry. Hawthorn is a cardiac tonic, used for cardiovascular conditions such as congestive heart failure (CHF), coronary circulation problems and arrhythmias.
It is also used to increase cardiac output reduced by hypertension or pulmonary disease, to treat hypotension (low pressure) and hypertension (high blood pressure), atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia and Buerger's disease. Hawthorn is also used as an antispasmodic, astringent and diuretic. It has also been reported to reduce lipid levels and in addition has antibacterial, spasmolytic and pain relieving effects. A true multi purpose herb.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Milk Thistle Extract
The best vitamin supplements target all systems and organs in your body and this naturally includes your liver – one of your largest organs. Milk Thistle (Silymarin) is used as a liver protectant to lessen damage from potentially hepatotoxic drugs and chemicals, chronic inflammatory liver disease and chronic hepatitis. It is also used for loss of appetite and gallbladder complaints.
There is evidence that suggests that Silymarin might have anti-fibrotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and immunomodulating effects that could also be beneficial in cancer. Preliminary evidence indicates that Silymarin constituents might protect against kidney damage. There is some interest in using Silymarin for prostate cancer.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Black Cohosh Extract
This is a powerful medicinal herb used by women. The safest way to re-balance a women’s body is to provide it with specialized nutrients in the form of hormonal precursors.
Black Cohosh is one of the key hormonal precursors.
It is also used as a remedy for headache, non-eruptive measles, gingivitis, arthritic conditions, an antidote for snakebite, as well as for female conditions such as painful menses and difficult childbirth.
This versatile herb is very active in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteo-arthritis, and in muscular and neurological pain.
Clinical studies have reported positive effects on menopausal and post-menopausal complaints, with a good safety profile and few side effects when using standardized extracts.
Of recent interest is a report that phytoestrogen compounds found in black cohosh and other herbs such as red clover may inhibit the growth of various breast cancer cell lines. Other studies have used breast cancer cell lines to demonstrate the estrogenic activity of black cohosh.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Red Clover Extract
Red Clover is another key hormonal precursor. It can be used to help control menopausal fluctuations naturally, without the use of hormone replacement therapies and dangerous synthetic medications. The more well researched benefits of red clover include:
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Dong Quai Extract
Dong Quai is an extremely popular medicinal herb. It is used for women's ailments such as premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, irregularity, retarded flow, weakness during the menstrual period and symptoms of menopause. It is also used as a blood purifier, to manage hypertension, rheumatism, ulcers, anemia and constipation, and in the prevention of skin depigmentation, psoriasis and in the treatment of allergic attacks.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Wild Yam Extract
Wild Yam is a wonderful herb for women. It is also a hormonal precursor.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Isoflavones
Soy Isoflavones are not herbs but I wanted to mention them because they are a fantastic ingredient for women.
Isoflavones (from soy) are thought to protect against cancer.
They are found in soy-based food products. They suppress the production of stress proteins in cells, proteins that otherwise help cancer cells survive destruction by the immune system.
They are antioxidant and also help lower cholesterol.
Genistein inhibits angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels. When this growth is abnormal it can contribute to the development of cancer.
They are of help in hormone-dependent cancers (breast and prostate cancer), autoimmune conditions, high cholesterol, menopause, osteoporosis, benign prostatic hyperplasia and vaginitis.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Beta Sitosterol
Beta Sitosterol is a plant sterol with a chemical structure similar to cholesterol. Beta Sitosterol inhibits intestinal absorption of cholesterol by competing for the limited space in mixed micelles; cholesterol absorption is decreased by around 50%.
Beta Sitosterol is used for coronary heart disease and hypercholesterolemia, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis, and gallstones. It is also used for enhancing sexual activity and for preventing colon cancer.
Beta Sitosterol is significantly more potent in treating BHP (enlarged prostate) than the other well know prostate nutrients Saw Palmetto and Pygeum so look for generous doses of at least 100 mg.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Corn Silk Extract
Corn silk is used to treat urinary disorders and is a diuretic for congestive heart failure. It is also used to treat diabetes and for hypertension.. It has shown to be effective in treating acute chronic inflammation of the urinary system. The extract of the pollen is used for dealing with prostate problems.
In Chinese medicine it is used as a treatment for water retention.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Lycopene
Lycopene is not a herb but is sourced from plants and is a critical ingredient for treating male health conditions.
Lycopene is a Carotenoid (a phytonutrient), which is used for preventing atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
It is also used to treat prostate cancer and asthma.
High lycopene plasma levels from dietary intake seem to reduce prostate cancer risk by 83% compared with men with low plasma lycopene levels. Dietary lycopene and other carotenoids are used to prevent lung cancer.
There is epidemiological evidence that consumption of lycopene from foods (12 mg per day or more for men, and 6.5 mg per day or more for women) decreases the risk of lung cancer in non-smoking men aged 40 to 75, and non-smoking women aged 30 to 55.
Lycopene has the most potent antioxidant activity of any common carotenoid.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is an extremely popular herb used to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate), as a mild diuretic, an anti-inflammatory and as an antiseptic.
Saw Palmetto is also used to improve sexual vigor and as an aphrodisiac. In combination with the other herbs and plant derived nutrients above Saw Palmetto is used to treat prostate cancer. It is definitely an ingredient we men want in our vitamin supplements.
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Total Balance contains all but one (Milk Thistle) of the ingredients listed above and much more!
View The Total Balance range
It was formulated by a world renowned bio-scientist who has been hired by governments around the globe to create complex formulas which their own scientists could not (including brain formulas for the NASA space program).
Total Balance Women’s Plus contains 14 standardized herbal extracts!
Total Balance Men’s Plus contains 13 standardized herbal extracts!
But Total Balance is far more than just a herbal nutrition supplement!
There are a WHOPPING 83 - 97 ingredients
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Each jammed packed tablet contains all of this:
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You may like to pop over and take a look at my best vitamin supplements comparisons and reviews to see how Total Balance completely DOMINATES other market leading multi nutrient vitamin supplements.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs – Resources