Heavy metal hazards of Asian traditional remedies
One article on PainSci cites Garvey 2001: Quackery Red Flags
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
In recent years there has been an increase in the use of traditional Asian medicines. It is estimated that 30% of the US population is currently using some form of homeopathic or alternative therapy at a total cost of over $13 billion annually. Herbal medications are claimed and widely believed to be beneficial; however, there have been reports of acute and chronic intoxications resulting from their use. This study characterizes a random sampling of Asian medicines as to the content of arsenic, mercury, and lead. Traditional herbal remedies were purchased in the USA, Vietnam, and China. The Asian remedies evaluated contained levels of arsenic, lead, and mercury that ranged from toxic (49%) to those exceeding public health guidelines for prevention of illness (74%) when consumed according to the directions given in or on the package. Heavy metals contained in Asian remedies may cause illness of unknown origin and result in the consumption of health care resources that are attributable to other causes. The public health hazards of traditional herbal Asian remedies should be identified and disclosed.
- “Heavy metal content of ayurvedic herbal medicine products,” Saper et al, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004.
- “Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic in US- and Indian-Manufactured Ayurvedic Medicines Sold via the Internet,” Saper et al, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2008.
- “How natural are 'natural herbal remedies'? A Saudi perspective,” Bogusz et al, Adverse Drug React Toxicol Rev, 2002.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.