Ready for herbal supplements that won’t break the bank?
More people than ever are looking to nature to answer everyday health concerns. But some of us might be hesitant — or unable — to drop big bucks on high-end herbal brands that promise wellness from within.
Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable herbal brands to choose from. The challenge isn’t in finding them, but in comparing them. So we did the research for you to find five of the best affordable herbal lines out there. Think of these as great starting points as you explore herbal supplements and learn what works for you!
Keep in mind that since herbs aren’t regulated by the FDA the same way that food and pharmaceuticals are, it’s important to do your research as a consumer and talk to your doctor before trying out a new product. The NIH’s Dietary Supplement Label Database can help you learn more about dietary supplements on the market.
Pacifica Beauty started as a niche purveyor of perfumes and exploded into an affordable beauty brand to be reckoned with, all while remaining vegan and cruelty-free. Earlier this year they launched a four-product line of “beauty powders” — powdered supplements combining essential vitamins and health-boosting herbs with gut-friendly probiotics. The line isn’t exclusively organic, but contains organic ingredients and is free of added sugars.
Try:Slay All Day, a naturally pineapple-flavored elixir designed to fight stress and boost skin health. Ayurvedic ingredients ashwagandha and astragalus root combat stress, while hyaluronic acid improves skin’s elasticity and green tea provides healthy antioxidants. The lightly sweet flavor is ideal for mixing into water, but would be pleasant in a smoothie too.
Cost per daily dose: 67 cents
With its wellness-boosting line of gummies, drugstore vitamin company Olly is helping to bring herbal care to the masses. Olly isn’t organic or vegan (the gummies are made with gelatin), and its products contain small amounts of added sugar. However, for an introduction to beneficial herbs at a drugstore price, they’re a decent (and super-affordable) option. Their easy-to-take gummy formulas are packed with ingredients to calm nerves, promote better sleep, boost energy, and more.
Try:Restful Sleep. These gummies combine the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin with calming herbals like chamomile, passionflower, and lemon balm, to give you more restful nights. They also contain the amino acid L-Theanine, a compound found in tea that’s been found to promote relaxation.
Cost per daily dose: 56 cents
Indian ayurvedic company Himalaya has been around for almost a century. It was one of the first brands to be approved under the U.S.’s Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which standardized quality control and safety standards for herbal supplements.
Himalaya is Non-GMO Project verified — aside from the vegetable cellulose capsules, all their ingredients are organic and all but a few products are vegan. Himalayan herbals are grown and manufactured in India, where (according to their website) the farmers supplying their ingredients earn 15-20 percent more income than average. So you have plenty of reasons to feel good about buying from this brand!
Try:MindCare. Brain feeling foggy? This supplement supports healthy cognitive function and mental alertness. Its proprietary blend features ayurvedic nootropic herbs like gotu kola, bacopa, and ashwagandha, which aid in coping with stress and promote better memory and mental functions.
Cost per daily dose: $1
USDA Organic-certified brand Orgain specializes in protein powders and plant-based milks. But their superfoods powder deserves a mention for a few reasons. First, it’s vegan and free of major allergens like gluten and soy. Second, it doesn’t contain any of the questionable additives that some of the other top-selling superfood brands are guilty of. Best of all, it’s nearly a dollar cheaper, ounce for ounce, than Amazing Grass’s popular Green Superfoods mix, with comparable ingredients. The blend of whole grains, sprouts, pulses, dark greens, and fruits will give your morning smoothie a boost of antioxidants, probiotics, and essential vitamins.
Cost per daily dose: 77 cents
Now Foods has been producing supplements, personal care products, essential oils and more for 50 years. Now isn’t exclusively organic but most of its supplements are free of GMOs, in addition to being free of additives and common allergens. The company shares information about its sourcing, manufacturing, and testing process on its website but doesn’t go into details about where its herbs are sourced. Several of Now’s supplements are available with vegan capsules.
Try:Detox Support. It supports a healthy liver and GI tract to help maintain the body’s toxin-regulating systems. Detox Support combines the antioxidant properties of minerals like selenium and manganese with herbals like detox-aiding chlorella, fibrous beetroot, and liver-healthy dandelion.
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The FDA has sent warning letters to companies marketing dietary supplements.
Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press
Anne Marie Chaker
April 18, 2019 5:12 p.m. ET
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it sent warning letters to 11 companies for marketing dietary supplements that don’t meet its guidelines.
The agency issued warnings to three companies for marketing dietary supplements containing phenibut, which is sometimes sold as a sleep aid or to treat anxiety. It said that phenibut doesn’t meet the statutory definition of a dietary ingredient, which is generally a vitamin, herb or other natural substance used to supplement the diet.
A Wall Street Journal article last week on the $40 billion supplement industry said that phenibut, developed as a drug in the former Soviet Union, was being marketed as a “nootropic,” or brain supplement, in the U.S. A spokeswoman for the FDA said that the agency was already investigating phenibut.
The FDA also issued warnings to eight companies for marketing dietary supplements containing DMHA, a stimulant sometimes found in exercise and weight-loss supplements. The companies have 15 business days to inform the FDA of steps they will take to bring their products into compliance. That could include a decision to recall, reformulate or discontinue sales.
Supplements aren’t tightly regulated by the FDA like prescription drugs. Dietary-supplement manufacturers don’t need approval from the FDA before introducing their products to the market. The FDA has oversight for taking action against any misbranded supplement after it reaches the market.
The FDA said it is launching a new online tool to help warn consumers of ingredients that appear to be unlawfully marketed in supplements. The agency said the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List will help get cautionary information to the public more quickly before it issues any final determination. It is on the FDA website, and consumers can also sign up to receive updates and changes to the list.
In an effort to better alert the public of unlawful ingredients in dietary supplements, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List, a new reference tool for consumers and manufacturers.
Available on the FDA website, the list includes ingredients that may not lawfully be included in dietary supplements. Consumers may wish to avoid supplements that include these ingredients as they may not fit the definition of a dietary ingredient or may require pre-market notification that was not submitted; inclusion in this list does not necessarily mean the ingredient poses a safety concern.
“It is important to note that the List is not exhaustive; it will always be a work in progress,” said Frank Yiannas, the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response. “We expect the List will evolve as new ingredients are identified and others are removed.” In addition, the FDA will continue to communicate with the public regarding any safety concerns identified with new dietary supplement ingredients.
In a press statement, Yiannas also noted that the agency recently sent out warning letters to 8 companies that were marketing dietary supplements containing DMHA and 3 companies marketing supplements with phenibut; neither one of these currently meets the FDA’s definition of a lawful dietary ingredient. “We take these violations very seriously and stand ready to take enforcement action without further notice if the companies do not immediately cease distribution of the products,” said Yiannas. In February 2019, the FDA went after 17 companies selling unapproved and/or misbranded products (most sold as dietary supplements) claiming to prevent, treat, or cure Alzheimer disease and other serious disease and health conditions.
Consumers who wish to receive alerts related to updates to the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List can sign up here.