Followup on herbal medicine in the U.K.
I've become aware of a link that leads to streaming audio of the original BBC Radio Live Five report on this story, which gives a much more detailed account. My main quibble is that they treat the claims of the herbalists interviewed about the efficacy of their herbs with a bit more credulity than they should have.
Also, for all you alties out there concerned about mercury poisoning causing a wide variety of diseases, consider this warning: There are often high levels of arsenic and mercury Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines:
The Agency first became aware of Fufang Luhui Jiaonang back in July 2004, when it warned consumers that it had been recalled from 35 outlets across the UK after being found to contain around 11% mercury.
Dr. Linda Anderson from the MHRA said: “The toxic effects of mercuric salts such as those found in the products tested are well known. The levels found could initially cause nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache and lead to serious damage to the kidneys and the nervous system. Any pregnant woman taking the products would be at risk of miscarriage and possible damage to the unborn foetus.”
But that's not all. Besides fenfluramine, arsenic, and mercury, the British government also warns about other potentially dangerous substances found in traditional Chinese medications:
Other ingredients found to be illegally included in TCMs in recent months have included: the banned ingredient Aristolochia, associated with kidney failure and cancer; prescription only ingredients glibenclamide (used in the treatment of diabetes; improper use can be fatal) and corticosteroids (found in 'herbal' skin creams). The TCMs involved have been in a number of forms, including pills and capsules.
Sir Alasdair Breckenridge, Chair of the MHRA, said:
"We recognise that many consumers value traditional Chinese medicines but they should be aware that we continue to find some products which are manufactured to low quality standards and which contain potentially harmful substances.
So, fans of Chinese medicine. Be very careful where you get your herbs from.
That's all for today. The Michigan-Ohio State game is going to start soon, and I plan on watching it.