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.

Related Articles


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 December 19, 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 December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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