One article on PainSci cites Saper 2004: 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.
CONTEXT: Lead, mercury, and arsenic intoxication have been associated with the use of Ayurvedic herbal medicine product (HMPs).
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and concentration of heavy metals in Ayurvedic HMPs manufactured in South Asia and sold in Boston-area stores and to compare estimated daily metal ingestion with regulatory standards.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Systematic search strategy to identify all stores 20 miles or less from Boston City Hall that sold Ayurvedic HMPs from South Asia by searching online Yellow Pages using the categories markets, supermarkets, and convenience stores, and business names containing the word India, Indian cities, and Indian words. An online national directory of Indian grocery stores, a South Asian community business directory, and a newspaper were also searched. We visited each store and purchased all unique Ayurvedic HMPs between April 25 and October 24, 2003.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Concentrations (microg/g) of lead, mercury, and arsenic in each HMP as measured by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. Estimates of daily metal ingestion for adults and children estimated using manufacturers' dosage recommendations with comparisons to US Pharmacopeia and US Environmental Protection Agency regulatory standards.
RESULTS: A total of 14 (20%) of 70 HMPs (95% confidence interval, 11%-31%) contained heavy metals: lead (n = 13; median concentration, 40 microg/g; range, 5-37,000), mercury (n = 6; median concentration, 20,225 microg/g; range, 28-104,000), and/or arsenic (n = 6; median concentration, 430 microg/g; range, 37-8130). If taken as recommended by the manufacturers, each of these 14 could result in heavy metal intakes above published regulatory standards.
CONCLUSIONS: One of 5 Ayurvedic HMPs produced in South Asia and available in Boston South Asian grocery stores contains potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury, and/or arsenic. Users of Ayurvedic medicine may be at risk for heavy metal toxicity, and testing of Ayurvedic HMPs for toxic heavy metals should be mandatory.
- “Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic in US- and Indian-Manufactured Ayurvedic Medicines Sold via the Internet,” Robert B. Saper, Russell S. Phillips, Anusha Sehgal, Nadia Khouri, Roger B. Davis, Janet Paquin, Venkatesh Thuppil, and Stefanos N. Kales, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2008.
- “Heavy metal hazards of Asian traditional remedies,” G J Garvey, G Hahn, R V Lee, and R D Harbison, Int J Environ Health Res, 2001.
- “How natural are 'natural herbal remedies'? A Saudi perspective,” Maciej J Bogusz, Mohammed al Tufail, and Huda Hassan, 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:
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch 2022 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Yousef 2013 Anaesthesia.
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Richards 2021 Phys Ther.
- Sudden amnesia resulting in pain relief: the relationship between memory and pain. Choi 2007 Pain.
- Photobiomodulation therapy is not better than placebo in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Guimarães 2021 Pain.