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Whats in your herbal remedy?

May 4th, 2012

Herbal remedies may not be especially safe or environmentally sound. A recent research study looked at the contents of Chinese herbal remedies using DNA sequencing. They found plant species that are known to contain toxic chemicals and identified animal DNA from species that are currently endangered and protected by international laws. Some samples were mislabelled “For example, a product labeled 100 percent Saiga antelope contained considerable quantities of goat and sheep DNA,”

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One of my patients was surprised to discover on a routine medical that he had a positive drug test. He was not aware of taking any drugs, but his test showed he had a sedative in his urine. The only thing that was unusual was had been taking a herbal remedy from Vietnam. The remedy was supposed to aid mental clarity. He reflected that he had felt very tired when he started taking it but had got used to it. The Herbal Remedy was probably laced with Valium; that is why he was tired when he first took it. Gradually his body learned to tolerate the drug. This could have been very dangerous if he were driving or operating machinery.

Modern pharmaceutical products are subject to rigorous tests. Herbal remedies might be a lucky dip, with sometimes a nasty surprise. This is especially so if purchasing products outside Australia.

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