In Hong Kong, Folk Remedies Are Sickening Patients

Posted 10 October 2017

An article in the New York Times, written by Rachel Nuwer, makes the point that hidden adulterants are found in Chinese Folk Medicines.

Every few weeks, Dr. Tony Wing Lai Mak, a pathologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong, receives blood and urine samples from yet another patient hospitalized after taking a traditional Chinese medical or health supplement.

His toxicology lab finds the same culprits over and over: adulterants hidden in the dose.

Although the Hong Kong Department of Health regularly issues warnings about the medicines, “we’re still seeing this all the time,” Dr. Mak said.

“These are illegal products that are damaging to people’s health and can even kill. Yet somehow, they’re still here.”

The frequency and serious nature of the cases inspired Dr. Mak and his colleagues to compile a decade’s worth of observations, which they recently published in the British Journal Read the rest

DNA of endangered Snow Leopard and Tiger found in Chinese medicines

Posted 11 April 2016

A recent article from the Journal of Forensic Science Medicine highlights the role Traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) play in the illegal trade of endangered and threatened wildlife species. Recent testing revealed that 50% of 26 TCM products contained undeclared plant or animal DNA, included DNA of the endangered snow leopard and possibly tiger. Also, 50% of the products contained an undeclared pharmaceutical agent, including warfarin, dexamethasone, and others. The article noted that while some products may be contaminated inadvertently, it is unlikely that an endangered species would be added to a product by accident. While this illegal use certainly has environmental implications, it also poses a direct health risk for humans. In 2009, there was a report of a man who died suddenly after taking the TCM product Chan Su, which contains extracts from a species of toad.


Byard RW. Traditional medicines and species … Read the rest

Chinese Medicine dangers

Posted 19 April 2012

"Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is enjoying increasing popularity all over the world. But two molecular genetics studies published this week show that the trendy treatments can be harmful, as well. The papers focus attention on the fact that not all of their ingredients are listed, or even legal, and that some can cause cancer."

Continue reading at  ScienceMag

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