Tag Archives | Herbs

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.

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Europe To Outlaw Hundreds Of Herbal Health Products

herbs2Count this one as a sweeping victory for Big Pharma: regulations set to go into effect across Europe this year will ban hundreds of herbal medicines in one fell swoop. I appreciate the EU’s effort to keep people safe from untested substances, but is it really possible that echinacea could be any more hazardous than, say, prescription antidepressants? The Independent reports:

Hundreds of herbal medicinal products will be banned from sale in Britain next year under what campaigners say is a “discriminatory and disproportionate” European law.

With four months to go before the EU-wide ban is implemented, thousands of patients face the loss of herbal remedies that have been used in the UK for decades. From May 1, 2011, traditional herbal medicinal products must be licensed or prescribed by a registered herbal practitioner to comply with an EU directive passed in 2004. The directive was introduced in response to rising concern over adverse effects caused by herbal medicines.

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U.S Government Clamps Down On Natural Remedies

Arabic herbal medicine book c. 1334

Arabic herbal medicine book c. 1334

You knew it was coming — $5 Billion of sales that Big Pharma would like for itself is surely enough to get the U.S. Federal government and its friends in the mainstream media to persuade the public that plant medicines don’t work and are dangerous, despite many centuries of effective use by peoples around the world. To wit, this article from the Wall Street Journal:

Elderberry extract and acai to boost the immune system. Black cohosh to lessen the discomforts of menopause. Soy capsules to prevent bone loss and prostate cancer.

Many botanical supplements—made from the seeds, bark, leaves, flowers and stems of a wide range of plants—have been widely used as folk remedies for centuries. Americans have been consuming growing quantities of the supplements in hopes of warding off disease and easing symptoms of various conditions. But there is scant scientific evidence to support their health benefits.

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Taking Ginkgo Biloba Is A ‘Waste of Time’

GinkgoBilobaKate Devlin writes in the Telegraph:
Elderly people who took Ginkgo biloba every day for six years had as many difficulties with recall as those who took a fake supplement, the largest study of its kind has shown. At least 100,000 people in Britain are thought to regularly take the supplement, which has been widely credited with improving memory and concentration. Made from the leaves of the Ginkgo tree, the Chinese herbal remedy has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries. It is thought to contain chemicals which help the flow of blood around the body, which advocates believe will help protect the brain against decline. But the researchers who carried out the latest study warned that the supplement appeared to have no effect on warding off age-related memory problems.
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