In some countries herbal medicine and herbal supplements are classified as dietary supplements, and are being used more and more in sports nutrition, so are pertinent to this ebook. Herbs have been noted in some cases to have drug-like qualities, and they are frequently used in cookery for taste and garnish. Many of today's pharmaceutical preparations were derived from herbs many years ago, and some herbs and drugs are very similar in their mode of action. Some cultures still use herbal medicine more so than conventional medicine. Metabolism in the body of some herbs is by the same mechanism as their drug counterpart.
The effective use of herbal supplements in both medicine and sports is poorly researched and documented, but is nevertheless, a growing area. It's a subject that is pertinent to the content of this ebook, but if you do choose to use herbal supplements, please buy reputable brands and seek more advice.
We are looking at herbs from a sports supplement point of view, in particular bodybuilding, so whilst some herbs may have a place in health and well being, I will comment on their benefits (or adverse effects) to bodybuilders. The ones mentioned have been marketed as having a role as a supplement in bodybuilding directly or indirectly.
One problem with herbal supplements is that you cannot always be certain of the potency of the formula. Many factors are important, including which part of the plant was used, where it was grown, how it was harvested, what the soil was like, how it was processed and packaged, and so on. The herbal industry has attempted a 'standardised extract' so the potency of a herbal extract is guaranteed. Despite this, some manufacturers make their products with lower levels than they claim.
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