The trend of using plant-based treatment or herbal medicines has changed over the past few decades. These herbal medicines contain various active ingredients such as phenolic compounds, alkaloids, and terpenoids. These ingredients are well known for enhancing the muscle strength and body mass. Recently, the researchers in Tunisia and Croatia reviewed the effects of the various herbal medicine available in the market to determine if they live up to their claims.
Do all the herbal medicines meet Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards?
In North America and Canada, people are using herbal medicines as complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) to get rid of pain and illness. The sportsmen also use herbal supplements during their trainings to enhance their physical and mental performance. According to a study, about 17% of collegiate women athletes use herbal supplements for fat burning and muscle growing treatment.
However, many herbal medicines are yet to be approved as safe and effective according to the FDA standards. Sometimes it is quite difficult to test the effectiveness of the herbal medicines. Numerous incongruent factors affect the validation of the herbal medicines. These factors are related to how the plant was grown and in what conditions.
Moreover, the dosage of the herbal medicine and addition of other medications in the formula can also alter the effectiveness of the herbal medicine. So, the scientists face issues in comparing the contrasting results obtained in different tests of the herbal medicines.
Benefits and Side Effects of Herbal Medicine in Sports
Recently, a team of researchers cross-examined the previous studies on various herbal medicines to determine if those medicines meet their claims. They got their research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Here we have discussed their findings based on the advantages and disadvantages of different herbal medicines, especially in sports.
Caffeine is a natural product which can be obtained from many plants in the tropic or sub-tropic regions. It has a great benefit of boosting the level of activeness and alertness in a person. It also decreases the reaction time of a person. That’s why coffee is considered one of the most consumed beverages worldwide.
During the research, the researchers gave a small dose of caffeine to the runners and cyclists, an hour before starting their training exercise. They found a significant boost in the strength and blood catecholamine levels of the athletes. Due to which, their aerobic and anaerobic performances improved a lot.
However, if a person consumes caffeine in high amount, he can suffer from high blood pressure. It can also increase the risk of heart attack among young adults. Still, it is considered as a safe herbal medicine relatively. For this reason, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lifted it from their prohibition list.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is another herbal medicine well-known for its numerous benefits and minimal side effects. The green tea extracts act as a potent antioxidant for diabetics. The researchers also confirmed that green tea can enhance the metabolism of the human body. It can also assist in fat burning. So far, the researchers have not found any long-term side effects of consuming green tea. However, a person can suffer from stomach problems like constipation, if he takes green tea in excess.