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Natural Herbal Products
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 Organic, natural, herbal and alternative products are flooding the shelves. To find the truly great options for a more natural lifestyle, don`t be taken in by market jargon. Look for the key terms that tell you that what you`re about to buy truly is natural and herbal.

  1. What Natural Means

    • Basically, "natural" on the label doesn`t mean anything. Natural is a subjective term that is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so it can be put onto any label for any food or drug product. For household cleaning products and beauty products, the same is true; there is no regulation about exactly what natural means, so a product can contain as many synthetic or non-natural ingredients along with one or two natural ingredients and claim to be a natural product.

    What Herbal Means

    • An herb refers to any plant or plant part used for medicinal, culinary, or aromatherapeutic purposes. That means that everything from cinnamon-flavored coffee to peppermint gum to lotion containing lavender essential oil contains an herbal ingredient, and as such can be labeled as an herbal product. Any product labeled as herbal can still contain multiple nonherbal ingredients, which may or may not be natural.

    Labels

    • Before purchasing a natural herbal product based on its front label, get savvy by flipping to the back and reading the fine print. The ingredient list is your friend. As a general rule, if most of the ingredients listed are unpronounceable, you`re not looking at a product that is primarily natural or herbal. However, keep in mind that many chemicals are natural, but still sound intimidating and unnatural when listed by their chemical compound names. Latin names of plants and plant extracts can also be unpronounceable and very unfamiliar for most of us. Many truly natural and herbal products will provide both the technical names and the layman`s translation.

    Quality

    • Look for labels that are certified organic or that give a percentage of natural. Some companies are voluntarily holding themselves to higher standards, but many companies are not. You will still see truly natural and herbal products being lumped together with misleadingly labeled synthetic products. Once you find a good brand that truly does market something natural and/or herbal, purchase from them for other products as well. Some brands that are setting standards for their products include Burt`s Bees (which gives you a "natural percentage" on every product), Dr. Bronnor`s, Jason and Seventh Generation.

    Which Products Matter

    • You may not be able to switch everything in your home from standard, mass-produced stuff to natural and herbal products, but you can make a difference one product at a time. For health and beauty products, spread on your skin only truly natural and/or herbal products. The skin`s pores absorb what we put on it, in essence ingesting the product into our body systems. If you have sensitive skin, you may see a huge difference by avoiding products with synthetic fragrances. For babies and small children, whose skin is naturally very sensitive, using natural herbal products can greatly relieve dry skin and itchiness.
      It`s also a good idea to find a good all-purpose cleaner to use that is natural and herbal. Not only do we use cleaners on practically every surface, we breathe in the fumes they leave behind after we`re through with the actual cleaning. Many of the natural, herbal cleaning products on the market contain high-quality ingredients such as lavender oil, which leaves a beautiful fragrance without any other side effects.


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