Generic Dietary Supplements?

If you buy aspirin as the brand name Bayer or a drug store generic, you can be assured that you are getting the same active ingredient. In order to sell a generic drug, a manufacturer must demonstrate to the Food and Drug Administration that the drug is bioequivalent – that it is comparable to the original drug product.

What about dietary supplements? Do two different products containing the same herb contain the same active ingredients? There is no guarantee that they do. Herbal remedies can differ in species, plant part, and preparation (dried herb, tea, tincture, extract) even if they have the same common name. These variables mean differences in chemical composition. Some of these differences are important for benefit and/or safety. Some differences are less important. How do you know? It comes down to knowledge about individual herbs. Do some research before you buy an herbal tea or a dietary supplement.