Users warned against dodgy labeling on herbal medicines
A new study has found that many herbal medicines are being sold with dodgy labeling and fail to comply with regulations.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide discovered that almost 20 percent of the herbal remedies surveyed - including vitamins, minerals and fish oils available at supermarkets and pharmacies - are not registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, despite it being a legal condition for their sale, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
And almost 60 percent had ingredients that did not match what is listed on the bottle or pack.
Lead author and senior lecturer in pharmacology at University of Adelaide, Ian Musgrave said that any changes to popular therapies such as ginkgo, dandelion and St John's wort can have serious drug interactions.
He added that in some cases, manufacturers are adding in or substituting herbs with entirely different active ingredients which can be highly toxic and can lead to adverse affects.'
The study examined 121 herbal products, including 29 claiming to treat arthritis, 33 for cold and flu, 19 for gastrointestinal disorders, 30 for stress and 10 for premenstrual syndrome. Only 15 products had ingredients that were consistent with their TGA listing and product packaging.
Products in the gastrointestinal and arthritis categories - which include slippery elm bark, senna leaf and aloe - had the highest level of non-compliance.
Consumers should always look for an "AUST L" or "AUST R" number printed on the front of complementary medicine packaging, Dr Musgrave said, as this showed it complied with TGA standards.
The study is set to be published in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine.
(Posted on 24-02-2014)