Recently the company Herbalife has come under fire because of the business model that it uses. Many supplement marketing companies also use similar business models. The point of interest in the case against Herbalife is that like many other supplement providers their business model seems to be built on making money off of creating more business opportunities rather than selling product to their consumers.
The unfortunate situation is that many consumers are unaware that there are qualified medical providers who are utilizing various types of supplements with the intention of helping their patients, rather than just selling lots of product to customers. The marketing people have done a great job of promoting herbs and supplements as all natural, healthy, safe and a cure for all your problems. Some of these products are well designed and some are not, and some are just hyped to make people believe they can do more than they do.
Consumers need to remember you get what you pay for. A sales person is trying to sell product. A medical provider is trying to determine what will best help you. It is interesting that in many parts of Europe trained herbalists are not allowed to sell the herbs and supplements that they prescribe. Patients must take the prescription to a herbal apothecary or other source to buy the herbs and supplements. This removes the economic incentive for practitioners to over prescribe supplements and medicines. In the U.S. there are no such laws. This makes it easier for practitioners to provide their patients with exactly what they need, but it does allow for some abuse.
The important thing is to pay attention to what is really needed. Many national health celebrities are selling lines of supplements and actively promote them for profit. Many people with no medical training are selling products to their friends and families. Consumers should realize that when they buy these products that they do not come with personalized expert advice about what they actually need. For proper medical advice it is important to see a medical practitioner who has the training, certifications and knowledge to determine a proper medical treatment.