Supplements are much like religion. We have the believers and the non-believers. They are taboo, on the “Do Not Discuss” list of conversation topics for dinner at your boyfriend’s house.

I, however, am a firm believer in supplements. I look forward to taking my gummy multivitamin every morning. In a perfect world, I would treat my body like the most holy temple I believe it to be. But, the world is not perfect, I am not perfect, and you betcha I will polish off the whole pint of Ben & Jerry's without moving from the couch.  

So what if we need a little help in taking care of our bodies? A tiny pill full of concentrated powder that will help my body detox after a long weekend? Give my skin life? I am sold! 

Here are all of the natural herbal supplements currently in my virtual shopping cart:

1. Milk Thistle 

Milk thistle is a natural herb known for its “antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” It is a natural liver supporter and detoxifier, and has been used historically for the treatment of liver disorders. While most college students are probably not concerned with liver disease, binge drinking is a prominent issue among this demographic. Consuming milk thistle might be a smart consideration for those who do drink alcohol because it will help support the liver. Milk thistle also offers other health benefits, like stopping inflammation to help lower cholesterol, and preventing free radical damage, which slows down the aging process. 

2. Turmeric 

Turmeric is a spice that has been traditionally used as a medicinal herb. Full of powerful antioxidants, turmeric helps protect against free radical damage. It has also shown to help reduce inflammation and aid digestion. Commonly used as a flavorful spice in cooking,  turmeric can also be used as an ingredient in face masks to prove skin with a natural glow. Using turmeric powder in a dorm might be a messy hassle for some, so taking turmeric supplements is the easiest way to get all of its awesome benefits.  

3. Elderberry

My immune system has gone down hill since coming to college. I can confidently say that I get sick with the common cold about once a month and I am miserable. I chug Emergen-C by the liter and still find no rescue. When I stumbled upon elderberry on the internet, I was immediately intrigued. Elderberry is an immune-enhancing berry that has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. For centuries, it has been applied to the skin to treat wounds. It is also ingested to treat respiratory illnesses and help relieve nasal congestion. Elderberry is available as a syrup or capsules, so you can cater taking it to your lifestyle.

4. Ginkgo Biloba 

Ginkgo biloba is one of the top-selling herbal supplements in the United States and Europe. It has been used in traditional medicine for its neuroprotective and stress-allieviating properties. Gingko biloba increases blood circulation to the brain and is considered to be one of the best known ways to potentially keep memory sharp. And ladies, some studies have shown that ginkgo biloba helps reduce PMS symptoms. It comes in the form of dried leaf for teas, liquid extracts, and capsules and tablets.

5. Rhodiola

Rhodiola is a versatile herb that was initially popularized for its therapeutic properties of lessening anxiety and stress. Now, rhodiola is known and used for its many other health benefits, including its ability to improve energy levels, revitalize the immune system, boost metabolism, and increase libido. Rhodiola also helps stimulate increased circulation of blood and oxygen within the body, which allows organ systems to function more efficiently

Talk To Your Doctor

Herbal supplements can be a positive and enriching introduction into your life, if done the right way. If you are interested in implementing a new supplement into your diet, do so under the approval and supervision of your doctor. Remember that supplements are exactly that. They are meant to supplement a diet, not be used as a substitute for actual food. They are not magic pills. They cannot completely reverse the effects of a bad diet, but they can help restore your body to proper function if you work together as a team.