NATURAL HEALTH PRODUCTS
Natural health products (NHPs) are naturally occurring substances that are used to restore or maintain good health. They are often made from plants, but can also be made from animals, microorganisms and marine sources. They come in a wide variety of forms like tablets, capsules, tinctures, solutions, creams, ointments and drops.
Natural health products are defined as:
- Vitamins and minerals
- Herbal remedies
- Homeopathic medicines
- Traditional medicines such as traditional Chinese medicines
- Other products like amino acids and essential fatty acids
NHPs are used and marketed for a number of health reasons, like the prevention or treatment of an illness or condition, the reduction of health risks, or the maintenance of good health. They must be safe to be used as over-the-counter products.
How can I use natural health products safely?
Take these steps to minimize your risk:
- Talk to a health care professional like a doctor, pharmacist or naturopath before choosing a product. This is especially important for children, pregnant or breast-feeding women, seniors, and people with serious medical conditions.
- To prevent interactions, make sure your health care provider knows what other drugs and natural health products you are using.
- Use approved products. Look for NPN / DIN-HM numbers that identify licensed products.
- Be skeptical of health-related claims that seem too good to be true. Don’t rely on ads: do your own research and talk to your health care provider.
- Read and follow all instructions on the product label.
- Report unwanted side effects (adverse reactions) to your health care provider and Health Canada.