DNA testing reveals ‘widespread adulteration’ of herbal products

Posted 09 November 2019

Fresh research utilising DNA testing technology has highlighted ‘widespread’ global adulteration in herbal products, with almost one-third of items tested found to be fake.

The study, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, analysed the authenticity of almost 6,000 herbal products sold across 37 countries using DNA testing. It concluded the content of a ‘substantial proportion’ – 27% – did not contain what was claimed on the label.

The researchers, led by Dr Mihael Cristin Ichim of the Romanian National Institute of Research and Development for Biological Sciences, stressed that the adulterated herbal products are distributed ‘across all continents and regions’. In Europe, the percentage of adulterated product stood at 47%, higher than North America at 33% and Asia at 23% but lower than Australia where 79% of products were found to be adulterated.

“Our results conrm the large-scale presence of adulterated herbal products throughout the global Read the rest

‘Natural’ does not mean best, better or even good

Ivo Vegter • 7 January 2019

Daily Maverick

A pervasive myth has arisen around the word ‘natural’. When applied to food, medicine, cosmetics or cleaning products by marketing experts, it invariably implies not just a derivation from nature but also that it is better than manufactured alternatives. In fact, it often is significantly worse.

Marketers know very well that the label “natural” is a winner. “Natural goodness,” they’ll declare on an item of food. “Pure and natural,” they’ll gush, on face cream or body scrub. “100% natural, chemical-free,” they state on a hair conditioner. Millions of products and tens of thousands of books extol the virtues of everything from natural foods to natural remedies to natural health for dogs and cats.

Marketers, of course, have only one job. They get paid to make you buy more stuff. If their slogans, labels and taglines do not make a company more profitable, they are replaced. … Read the rest

UK National Health Service drops coverage of homeopathic, herbal, and supplement products

Posted 12 December 2017

NHS England has decided to stop covering 18 “low value” treatments, a move the government believes will generate £141 million in annual savings. The list includes seven that have also also been referred to the Department of Health for blacklisting: homeopathy, herbal treatments, omega-3 fatty acid compounds (fish oil), co-proxamol, rubefacients (excluding topical NSAIDS), lutein and antioxidants, and glucosamine and chondroitin.

[Items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care: Consultation and Report of Findings. NHS England, Nov 30, 2017]

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Herbal supplements’ illegal ingredients pose health risk, experts warn

Posted 06 February 2016

The Guardian

Friday 3 February 2017

Unlicensed medicines used in obesity or erection remedies could lower blood pressure or raise chances of heart attack

Many herbal supplements, including for obesity and erectile dysfunction, contain hidden unlicensed pharmaceutical ingredients that could endanger people’s health, experts have warned.

The research team, from Queen’s University Belfast, Kingston University in London and the life sciences testing company LGC, concluded that not only do such supplements often make unverified claims as to their benefits but some have illegal ingredients which could pose a threat – potentially causing low blood pressure or an increased risk of heart attacks.

The substances are unlicensed medicines as they are appearing in products classified as food supplements. Among the most common substances identified was sibutramine, according to the study, published in the Journal of the Association of Public Analysts.

Sibutramine was licensed as the medicine Reductil … Read the rest

Herbal products need tighter regulation by TGA

Posted 06 February 2017

Medical Journal Australia
Issue 4 / 6 February 2017

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Monitoring herbal products

Posted 09 February 2015

How does one know whether a herbal extract contains the original plant or the chemicals found in that plant? In this background document at Herbal Gram (American Botanical Society), some information is given.

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Health Intelligence – misguiding the public?

Update 15 May 2012: I have been sent evidence that “horse chestnut” (listed as “esculin”) was scheduled as S3 in December 1979.

Posted 12 May 2012

Health Intelligence magazine states on its front cover as a byline: “The Science of Health.” In its advertising blurb on its associated company Solal Technologies’ website, it is stated to be “Sophisticated. Cutting edge. Credible.” The editorials in Edition 15 (May 2012) are however misleading, and disturbingly so.

The first [text] editorial by Colin Levin bemoans the new food labelling regulations from the Department of Health as having gone too far “[i]n their noble intention to prevent (sic) consumers from misleading claims.” He even quotes the Health Products Association of South Africa (HPA) which is “disappointed” that the regulations don’t address the relationship between certain food (sic) and various diseases.

So what’s the problem?

If Mr Levin and/or his editorial team Read the rest

Slim HerbAqua

Posted 14 February 2010 

Slim HerbAqua claims to be an effective aid for weight loss and is a mixture of 33 herbs. On the HerbAqua website it states: “Slim Herb Aqua contains a powerful herbal formula with a nine-fold action that will reduce appetite, boost metabolism and improve digestion” and “[F]or effective weight loss, drink 1 bottle a day, follow a healthy eating plan and an exercise programme.” Even if the ingredients had evidence for efficacy in weight-loss, these are the simple facts:

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UK ASA ruling: Zara’s Herbal Tea

The United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority offers a useful assessment of many complaints about products that make medicinal claims. The UK ASA operates slightly differently from the ASA of SA. 

Some of the differences between these bodies and the different systems of medicines regulation in each country are highlighted in the rulings. In this ruling, it is clear that the UK ASA did not accept that claims could be made for this tea because a clinical trial was being planned.

Nor did they accept the reasoning that the marketers "ethos was to promote natural healthcare".

Nor did they accept as evidence that the product had helped cure a dog of cancer.

Here is the story:

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UK ASA ruling: Herbal remedies, Uri Aid, etc.

A direct mailing, for Living & Loving, included a leaflet which made a number of claims for the herbal remedies Uri Aid, ProstAid, ProstBoost and Up Mood.

The Health Food Manufacturers' Association (HFMA) challenged whether the  efficacy claims for the products were misleading and could be substantiated.

The ASA upheld all complaints.

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