By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What does the law say about what herbal and homeopathic remedies need to tell you – and what they don’t?

Despite the fact that winter is officially behind us, colds and the flu don’t take a spring or summer vacation. If you find yourself at the drugstore looking for a remedy, you may not realize that there’s a major difference both in substance and regulatory requirement between Zicam and Zithromax, between Airborne and Afrin.

Zicam and Airborne – two very popular cold remedies – are actually homeopathic and herbal remedies, not drugs, and as a result aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The law therefore allows their sale without review for safety or effectiveness, unlike over-the-counter and prescription medication – unless the FDA can affirmatively prove they are harmful as they did recently with the weight loss supplement Ephedra.

Herbal remedies are often sold alongside medicines so check the label carefully. And, ask your doctor to learn what you’re really putting into your body in the name of better health.

More From CBS Philly

Latest Videos
Latest Forecast

Watch & Listen LIVE