Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find high levels of toxic metals in herbal medicine products sold online

27.08.2008
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that one fifth of both U.S.-manufactured and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines purchased via the Internet contain lead, mercury or arsenic. These findings appear in the August 27th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Ayurveda is a form of medicine that originated in India more than 2,000 years ago and relies heavily on herbal products. In India, an estimated 80 percent of the population practices Ayurveda. In the United States, Ayurvedic remedies have increased in popularity and are available from South Asian markets, health food stores, and on the Internet.

Ayurvedic medicines are divided into two major types: herbal only and rasa shastra. Rasa shastra is an ancient practice of deliberately combining herbs with metals, minerals and gems. Ayurvedic experts in India believe that if Rasa Shastra medicines made with metals such as lead and mercury are properly prepared and administered, they will be safe and therapeutic.

Using an Internet search, the researchers identified 25 Web sites featuring 673 Ayurvedic medicines. They randomly selected and purchased 193 products made by 37 different manufacturers for analyses. Overall, 20.7 percent of Ayurvedic medicines contained detectable lead, mercury and/or arsenic. U.S. and Indian manufactured products were equally likely to contain toxic metals. Rasa shastra compared with non-rasa shastra medicines were more than twice as likely to contain metals and had higher concentrations of lead and mercury. Among products containing metals, 95 percent were sold by U.S. Web sites and 75 percent claimed Good Manufacturing Practices or testing for heavy metals. All metal-containing products exceeded one or more standards for acceptable daily intake of toxic metals.

"This study highlights the need for Congress to revisit the way dietary supplements are regulated in the U.S.," said lead author Robert Saper, MD, MPH, Director of Integrative Medicine in the Family Medicine Department at BUSM. Saper first published on this topic in December, 2004 (JAMA). In that study he and his colleagues found 20% of Ayurvedic medicines produced in South Asia only and available in Boston area stores contained potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury, and/or arsenic. "Our first priority must be the safety of the public. Herbs and supplements with high levels of lead, mercury, and arsenic should not be available for sale on the Internet or elsewhere," he said.

Saper adds, "We suggest strictly enforced, government mandated daily dose limits for toxic metals in all dietary supplements and requirements that all manufacturers demonstrate compliance through independent third-party testing."

"The medicines which are supposed to cure sickness should not promote another illness due to the presence of toxic materials such as lead," said co-author Venkatesh Thuppil, PhD, Director of the National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India, as well as a Professor at St. John's Medical College in India.

Michelle Roberts | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bmc.org

Further reports about: Ayurveda Ayurvedic arsenic herbal medicine toxic metals

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

nachricht Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another
12.12.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

CCNY-Yale researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Pain: Perception and motor impulses arise in the brain independently of one another

12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>