One article on PainSci cites Saper 2008: 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 have been detected in a substantial proportion of Indian-manufactured traditional Ayurvedic medicines. Metals may be present due to the practice of rasa shastra (combining herbs with metals, minerals, and gems). Whether toxic metals are present in both US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines is unknown.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of Ayurvedic medicines available via the Internet containing detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic and to compare the prevalence of toxic metals in US- vs Indian-manufactured medicines and between rasa shastra and non-rasa shastra medicines.
DESIGN: A search using 5 Internet search engines and the search terms Ayurveda and Ayurvedic medicine identified 25 Web sites offering traditional Ayurvedic herbs, formulas, or ingredients commonly used in Ayurveda, indicated for oral use, and available for sale. From 673 identified products, 230 Ayurvedic medicines were randomly selected for purchase in August-October 2005. Country of manufacturer/Web site supplier, rasa shastra status, and claims of Good Manufacturing Practices were recorded. Metal concentrations were measured using x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence of medicines with detectable toxic metals in the entire sample and stratified by country of manufacture and rasa shastra status.
RESULTS: One hundred ninety-three of the 230 requested medicines were received and analyzed. The prevalence of metal-containing products was 20.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 15.2%-27.1%). The prevalence of metals in US-manufactured products was 21.7% (95% CI, 14.6%-30.4%) compared with 19.5% (95% CI, 11.3%-30.1%) in Indian products (P = .86). Rasa shastra compared with non-rasa shastra medicines had a greater prevalence of metals (40.6% vs 17.1%; P = .007) and higher median concentrations of lead (11.5 microg/g vs 7.0 microg/g; P = .03) and mercury (20 800 microg/g vs 34.5 microg/g; P = .04). Among the metal-containing products, 95% were sold by US Web sites and 75% claimed Good Manufacturing Practices. All metal-containing products exceeded 1 or more standards for acceptable daily intake of toxic metals.
CONCLUSION: One-fifth of both US-manufactured and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines purchased via the Internet contain detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic.
- “Heavy metal content of ayurvedic herbal medicine products,” Robert B Saper, Stefanos N Kales, Janet Paquin, Michael J Burns, David M Eisenberg, Roger B Davis, and Russell S Phillips, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004.
- “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.