Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alternative Medicine And Heavy Metal Poisoning

Date:
October 26, 2008
Source:
Inderscience
Summary:
Many Ayurvedic medicines can contain dangerous quantities of heavy metals, including lead, mercury, thallium and arsenic, according to clinical toxicology specialists in London writing in the International Journal of Environment and Health.

Many Ayurvedic medicines can contain dangerous quantities of heavy metals, including lead, mercury, thallium and arsenic, according to clinical toxicology specialists in London writing in the International Journal of Environment and Health.

The team explains that recent European legislation aimed at improving safety of shop-bought products should go some way to protect the public against some of the potential risks associated with traditional medicines. However, it will have little impact on medicines prescribed by traditional practitioners, imported personally from overseas or bought over the Internet.

Consultant Clinical Toxicologist Dr Paul Dargan of Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London is working with colleagues there and Dr Indika Gawarammana of the Faculty of Medicine and South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, to investigate the risks of heavy metals found in Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient practice based on five elements and stresses spiritual balance as well as the use of herbal remedies for a wide range of illnesses. In India, there are more than 12,000 Ayurvedic colleges and hospital. There, almost 80% of the population uses Ayurvedic and other traditional medicines, often exclusively.

The use of Ayurvedic medicines has become popular in North America, Europe and Australasia and has spread beyond the cultural and ethnic populations from which the traditional medicine practices originated. Dargan and colleagues point out that there have been numerous reports of clinically significant heavy metal poisoning related to its use.

Practitioners may use individual herbal extracts or a mixture of herbal extracts with vegetable, animal and mineral products. It is a basic principle of Ayurveda that practitioners can use anything as a drug. Heavy metals are generally not present as contaminants but practitioners add them intentionally. In Ayurveda a balance of the metals, including lead, copper, gold, iron, mercury, silver, tin, zinc are considered to be essential for normal functioning of the human body and an important component of good health.

Unfortunately, the researchers say, few studies have recorded detailed information about just how common is heavy metal poisoning due to the use of Ayurvedic remedies. They discuss the details of several cases of lead poisoning in patients who had taken an Ayurvedic product containing lead.

"There is an urgent need for studies to quantify the frequency and potential risk of heavy metal poisoning from Ayurvedic medicines," say the researchers. Also needed is "culturally appropriate education" that can inform the public of the potential for toxicity associated with the many different products associated with this practice.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul I. Dargan, Indika B. Gawarammana, Ivan M. House, Debbie Shaw and David M. Wood. Heavy metal poisoning from Ayurvedic traditional medicines: an emerging problem? International Journal of Environment and Health, 2008, 2, 463-474

Cite This Page:

Inderscience. "Alternative Medicine And Heavy Metal Poisoning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081023101226.htm>.
Inderscience. (2008, October 26). Alternative Medicine And Heavy Metal Poisoning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081023101226.htm
Inderscience. "Alternative Medicine And Heavy Metal Poisoning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081023101226.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins