While more and more Americans are seeking herbal remedies as
“natural” alternatives or supplements to modern Western medicine, research is
demonstrating that some herbal products may pose unexpected health threats.
A study published this week by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that 1 out of 5 Ayurvedic herbal products sold on the
internet, whether manufactured in India or in the United States, contains toxic
levels of mercury, lead, and arsenic.
Researchers at Boston University’s Medical School conducted
their tests by ordering a random sampling of products from sites selling Ayurvedic
remedies though popular search engines.
In testing nearly two hundred herbal samples, they found that
U.S-manufactured Ayurvedic products, even those that offered claims of “Good
Manufacturing Practices,” contained the same unacceptably high levels of toxic
metals as Indian-manufactured ones.
In light of their alarming findings, the authors of the
Boston University study adamantly recommend “strictly enforced,
government-mandated daily dose limits for toxic metals in all dietary
supplements.” Currently, the American Food and Drug Administration has no regulations in place for how herbal
remedies are produced, manufactured, or distributed to consumers. In the United States, consumers who choose
herbal remedies have no way of knowing whether the products they are purchasing
are safe. Concerned citizens, please call your Congressman and demand that the FDA take a position on herbal medications to protect the lives of Americans.