Herbal remedies have been around for thousands of years. Ancient Japanese herbalists recognized the importance of soy and green tea for general health and wellbeing. Herbs may be taken in their original plant form, but are now more commonly taken in the form of capsules known as herbal supplements. Only recently have Western doctors begun to recognize the value of these herbal supplements, as they have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve memory, and reduce stress among other benefits.

A few popular herbal supplements include aloe vera, ginseng, orange extract, garlic, Echinacea and bee pollen. Aloe vera helps fight infection and supports the immune system. Ginseng increases energy while reducing stress. Orange extract is an anti-inflammatory herb that also helps increase metabolism and aid in weight loss. Garlic is an extremely versatile herb that is recommended for a variety of tasks, such as heightened immunity, heart protection, and cancer prevention. Echinacea fights the common cold and flu, in turn strengthening the immune system. Bee pollen is well-noted for its high-nutrient content as well as its energy-boosting properties.

Before you buy every herbal supplement on the shelf, however, there are a few things to keep in mind. Herbal supplements are not required to be evaluated by the FDA, so not every company will be honest about their products’ ingredients. Look for supplements that are USP Dietary Supplement Verified, and be wary of outstanding claims. Some herbs must be avoided if you have certain conditions (for instance, do not take bee pollen if you are allergic to bee stings). Talk to your doctor or qualified herbalist before beginning any herbal regimen.