Another miracle herbal weight loss solution commercial appears on your television screen -- either you turn it off or you speed to the local health food store to purchase the new wonder potion.
In an on-the-go society in which eating right and staying healthy seem increasingly difficult, many American consumers
are turning to dietary supplements. Consumers take these tinctures, powders and tablets for numerous reasons -- from losing weight to combating allergies.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that in 2001, the dietary supplement industry raked in $17 billion.
According to the National Institute of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements,
"Today's dietary supplements are not only vitamins and minerals. They also include other less familiar substances, such as herbals, botanicals, amino acids, and enzymes. Dietary supplements come in a variety of forms, such as tablets, capsules, powders, energy bars, or drinks."
Sharon Bowers, owner of The Herb Stop, prefers to display most of her loose herbs in bundles so consumers can see what they're buying.
"Nothing is standardized," said Bowers. "All our herbs are as pure as we can get them."
The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements as they do drugs. Quality control, safety and accuracy claims are left to the manufacturers and distributors.
Although some supplements may help the ingestion of proper nutrients, supplement manufacturers cannot claim that their products treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent or cure disease.
Shopper Connie Lynn, paused during her shopping trip at The Herb Stop to voice her opinion. Lynn believed that since she has gone back to "whole, natural health care" she is regaining her health.
"The majority of doctors don't listen to their patients. They just nod their heads and write another prescription. I want my health," she stated, "I don't want to become addicted to pills."
Organic, wild-crafted herbs are available at The Herb Stop too. These naturally harvested herbs are plants that grow in the wild, such as blue vervain, which aids colds, coughs, mullein an excellent respiratory herb for children, or yarrow, which is considered a blood cleanser.
For those interested in growing their knowledge of herbs, classes begin at The Herb Stop at the end of January.
Just as local herbs are much more potent, so is the honey sold at another natural food store, Back to Basics. Although their live bee show was discontinued because customers agitated the bees, local natural honey may still be purchased.
"It's like a natural allergy shot." said Cali Cole, owner of Back to Basics. Cole stressed the importance of ingesting local honey to raise the immune system's resistance to pollen allergies.
A wide range of supplements from a number of different manufacturers line the shelves of Back to Basics. They will special order anything for their customers.
"They (customers) come here for selection, education and because we go out of our way with customer service." said Cole.
The Herb Stop is at 130 E. Highway 260 in the Payson Village Shopping Center, (928) 468-0900.
Back to Basics is located at 908 N. Beeline Highway, Payson, (928) 474-8935.
Other area businesses meeting the health needs of Rim country residents with alternative, or natural, medicines are Longevity Plus, 708 E. Highway 260, Building C-2, Payson, (928) 474-3684, and the Internet business Wellspring Botanicals, www.wellspringbotanicals.com.
For more information, visit the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements website at http://ods.od.nih.gov/index.aspx.