Looking for a natural plant supplement that contains sufficient product labeling detail can be a challenge, especially if no explicit descriptive wording is provided for whatever derivatives a particular plant contains. It may take some research to know exactly what part or parts of a plant are in a certain supplement. Here are a few ways to help identify what plant materials are going into a supplement.
Plant Form Specifics and Ingredients
If you want a supplement that is specific in its ingredients and is one that you know is beneficial to your health, you are probably going to look for it in a form that best serves your needs. You are also going to look for one that contains a delivery system that will adequately convey the right proportion of ingredients to a particular health concern.
Whether in the form of a seed, root, flower, leaf, stalk, stem, or other parts of a plant, discovering its structure and composition is the first step in determining exactly which part or parts of a plant are going to be the most effective for maintaining health and addressing health issues. The composition of a plant and its different parts are the keys to discovering what is helpful and not helpful in relation to a particular plant-based supplement.
If you want to know what a particular plant ingredient is intended to do and how it will improve your health, that process involves researching a plant supplement and discovering what parts of it are going to be of the most benefit. If a supplement label only lists the plant type, such as red clover, but does not go on to include a breakdown of exactly what parts of it are present, like blossoms, leaves or stems, it can be difficult to ascertain which of those parts are going to be the most effective for certain health conditions. Most health professionals and others also want to take it a step further with awareness of any detrimental side effects of a particular plant supplement, as well as whether there is any redeemable value to parts of a plant supplement.
Dietary Supplement Labeling
Most any kind of research on particular supplements is going to involve looking into supplement listings with the Food and Drug Administration as well as the National Institute of Health’s website. There is a specific database section there that deals with Dietary Supplement Labeling. Supplement ingredients are found in this division where comparisons have been made on literally thousands of dietary supplement ingredients. They are listed by working ingredients, manufacturers, brand names and uses.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has supplement listings as well and adheres to strict labeling standards concerning plant supplements, which include the name of the supplement, a complete listing of its ingredients, the active ingredients, size of servings and amounts, as well as the place of manufacturing or distribution of the supplement.
The FDA also monitors plant supplements that are in the marketplace and if any of those supplements are found not to meet certain standards and are harmful or detrimental for consumption, the FDA can take steps to remove the products as well as stop both distributors and manufacturers from producing certain supplements.
Other sources for informative research concerning plant supplements can be found through websites, such as the Office of Dietary Supplements and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. In addition to research findings by different scientific organizations, information can be found through contact with supplement manufacturers as well as from doctors and pharmacists that are familiar with plant supplement ingredients.
Let’s Look at an Example…
One example of a plant that is known for its comprehensive and holistic uses is Mimosa Pudica (from the Latin Pudica, meaning shy, sensitive, sleepy and touch-me-not). It is a flowering plant found throughout the world and is part of the legume (pea) family. Its small leaves will fold inwardly when touched, which is likely due to either defensive measures or retention of moisture within its leaves. The plant grows in shaded areas beneath shrubs and trees and is even considered more of a weed since it grows wild in so many areas.
The plant parts of Mimosa Pudica are used for a wide variety of ailments, and the plant has a long history of folk medicine utilization from snake bites to coughs and influenza. The following is a simple breakdown of the parts of this plant that have been found to be beneficial:
- Roots: fever, inflammation, asthma, ulcers, dysentery, rheumatism, skin mottling (vitiligo), hemorrhoids, and abnormal tissue connections (fistula)
- Leaves: wounds, infections, conjunctivitis (pink-eye), hemorrhoids, fistula as well as antibacterial and anticonvulsant properties
- Whole Plant: epilepsy, plague, insect repellent, edema, cancer treatment, rheumatism and muscle pain (myalgia)
- Seeds: detoxification of heavy metal buildup
- Leaves and seeds in combination (boiling down): diuretic and urinary tract infections
With this information, you can look at a label and determine whether a supplement has the particular ingredients you need to address your health concerns. For example, say you wanted a supplement to help alleviate conjunctivitis. You would know to choose a supplement that contains Mimosa Pudica leaves, rather than the seeds or the roots.
The value of certain parts of a plant, or an entire plant in general, is an important aspect in understanding plant-based supplements. Knowledge of plant parts is truly amazing and can be valuable and beneficial in almost any health situation, as plants have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. They have relieved any number of serious to not so serious maladies along with simple everyday issues, such as cuts, scrapes, burns, headaches, colds and other non-critical issues.
In order to avoid interactions or reactions with any kind of plant-based use, it is critically important to speak with professionals schooled and experienced in plant supplementation. They can provide the information needed to determine what parts of a plant are of value with various health concerns. That information alone is just one important reason to know exactly which parts of a plant are contained in the supplements you may be taking now, or plan on taking in the future. Plants are heaven-sent, but like anything else, the right parts need to be used cautiously, sensibly and judiciously.