Many Herbal Supplements Nothing But Rice and Weeds

snake-oil-scamIf you’re looking to try an herbal supplement it looks like you’d be best off growing your own.

Via Newser:

Tests to determine what’s really in popular herbal supplements found a key ingredient is often missing: herbs. Researchers conducted DNA tests on 44 bottles of the remedies sold by 12 companies and found that around a third contained no trace at all of the healing herb they were supposed to contain, reports the New York Times. Instead, the supplements were made of powdered weeds or fillers like rice and soybean, which were used to dilute other supplements that did contain some of the plant listed on the label.

Keep reading.

11 Comments on "Many Herbal Supplements Nothing But Rice and Weeds"

  1. Punctuated Colon | Nov 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm |

    What?? you mean People lie to us when they take our money?


  2. Jacob Newton | Nov 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm |

    That’s why u don’t impulsively want to be “healthy” when say walking through WalMart or Walgreens. You go to natural food and health stores and pay the extra money for lab analyzed, critical extractions, and guarantees potency. Sure you can buy milk thistle for five bucks at WalMart and it costs 20 at a health store, but at least you aren’t buying commercialized, mass produced junk that’s meant for people who aren’t on the up and up in this market and will probably just have a placebo effect. Most companies aren’t looking for returning customers, they know it’s usually a fad or impulse so they have no issues using fillers and junk.

    • VaudeVillain | Nov 4, 2013 at 7:35 pm |

      What makes you so sure that most of the “good stuff” you pay top dollar for isn’t what they tested? These are people charging huge prices for herbal “remedies” that can’t make it past the laughable FDA testing procedures, I wouldn’t trust them to do much of anything.

      In fact, I’d expect the Wal-Mart varieties actually do have the listed mojo simply because Wally World has deep enough pockets to be worth going after… basically the same reason that the only restaurants which fastidiously observe all health codes are fast food chains.

      Read what you will into the apparent inefficacy of the latter.

      • Punctuated Colon | Nov 5, 2013 at 7:50 am |

        Could be Homeopathic recipes. The more you pay the less you get the more it works.

        Homeopaths! Pah!

  3. BuzzCoastin | Nov 4, 2013 at 7:15 pm |

    that’s prety F-in good
    when compared to the scarey shit in real drugs
    and GMO foods too
    unless it’s GMO weeds
    then it’d be unhealthful

  4. Simon Valentine | Nov 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm |

    i’m glad
    …that people still magic

  5. read the insert next time you get your flu shot
    that s even scarier
    this is merely misdirection
    it s the white coats doin the real damage
    not the health food guys


  6. BuzzCoastin | Nov 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm |

    Researchers (unnamed and no reference)
    conducted DNA tests on 44 bottles of the remedies (what products exactly?)
    sold by 12 companies (which 12?)
    (how were they tested, what’s the margin of error?)
    found that around a third contained no trace at all
    of the healing herb (pakalolo)
    (so 2/3 of the products were legit)
    the New York Times
    (the paragon of virtuous reporting)

    • Haystack | Nov 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm |

      The article is in BMC Medicine (there’s a link to it from the NYT article). It’s an open access journal so you should be able to find the specifics there.

      The basic issue is that supplements aren’t regulated. If you’re a farmer and a supplement company orders ginko from you, you can ship them alfalfa and they won’t know the difference — they’re not testing it to make sure that they’re actually getting what they’re paying for.

      • Jason Lewis | Nov 5, 2013 at 12:47 am |

        That may be the gist of the article but I have to agree with Buzz. This article is piss poor journalism that paints the entire supplement/herb industry a certain way. I use supplements but I also happen to do a lot of research on the products I use so I know what I’m taking is a quality product. I also understand that there’s enough charlatans selling snake oil. All industries have their garbage peddlers. You have to do your due diligence. Which is not to excuse the supplement vendors that sell bogus products but to essentially say that the entire supplement industry are a bunch of charlatans is disingenuous and dishonest.

  7. I completely missed the ‘s’ on the end of weeds when I first read the headline. Those herbal supplements would be a top seller.

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