Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Internet Ayurvedic Medicines Contain Toxic Metals

It turns out that toxic metals can be found in Ayurvedic medicines sold online, according to a JAMA article, "Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic in US- and Indian-Manufactured Ayurvedic Medicines Sold via the Internet. (abstract)" Here's what I've learned in doing some reading . . .
  1. There are two major types of Ayurvedic medicines: herbal-only and rasa shastra, which is an ancient practice of deliberately combining herbs with metals (e.g., mercury, lead, iron, zinc), minerals (e.g., mica) and gems (e.g., pearl). Rasa shastra experts claim that these medicines are safe and therapeutic when properly prepared and administered.
  2. One-fifth of both US-manufactured and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines purchased via the Internet contain detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic. All metal-containing products exceeded 1 or more standards for acceptable daily intake of toxic metals.
  3. The research also collected information about claims of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). Among the metal-containing products, 95% were sold by US Web sites and 75% claimed Good Manufacturing Practices.

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