Most multivitamins are safe. The real question to ask is which multivitamins are potent enough and pure enough to actually be effective?
One of the most important things you can do to assess the purity of your multivitamin is to check the label. Look in the area where “Other ingredients” are listed. If there is a long list of ingredients such as; titanium dioxide, BHA, artificial colors, hydrogenated oils and the like you can be certain that the purity of the vitamin is very poor. These ingredients are a sign that the manufacture wanted to keep cost production very low. In doing so, they include a large amount of preservatives and other materials to aid the manufacturing process and extend shelf life. If they are cutting corners here, you can be sure that they are cutting corners when it comes to the purity and potency of the actual vitamins and minerals in the product. For example, many low quality vitamins will use the synthetic form of a vitamin vs. its natural counterpart. This happens very frequently with vitamin E. It’s exists naturally as a form called D-alpha tocopherol. When made synthetically it is listed as DL-alpha tocopherol. The synthetic form is much cheaper to produce, but studies have shown it has virtually no biological activity in the body.
Also be careful of multi-vitamins that are 1 a days. Usually in order to get the full dose of what is in a multi-vitamin (if high quality ingredients are being used) you need to take at least 2 per day, and often 3.
I do not know of any specific herbal multivitamins, although many multivitamin formulas will contain some herbal extracts. For example, bioflavonoids from grape seed extract are often included for their anti-oxidant properties. In addition, formulas designed specifically for men or women might contain herbs pertaining to gender specific concerns, like saw palmetto for prostate health.
Selecting a multi-vitamin that does not contain artificial preservatives, food dyes, hydrogenated fats and synthetic forms of vitamins will help ensure its safety while at the same time delivering superior nutrients in ways your body can more easily utilize.