AyurvedaElectronic MediaHeavy Metals

Toxins in Ayurvedic meds on the web

Researchers from Boston and Bangalore, India ask, what’s the risk of getting lead, mercury, and arsenic in the Ayurvedic medicines purchased on the Internet?

First, the details.

  • 25 Web sites selling traditional Ayurvedic herbs, formulas, or ingredients commonly used in Ayurveda medicines taken by mouth and were identified.
  • 230 Ayurvedic medicines were randomly selected for purchase.
  • Country of manufacturer/Web site supplier, rasa shastra status, and claims of Good Manufacturing Practices were recorded.
    • Rasa shastra describes the use of metals, gems, minerals, and poisons to produce special formulations of medicines.

And, the results.

  • 193 of the 230 requested medicines were received and analyzed.
  • The prevalence of metal-containing products was 21%.
    • In US-manufactured products it was 22% vs 20% in Indian products.
  • Rasa shastra compared with non–rasa shastra medicines had a significantly greater prevalence of metals (41% vs 17%).
  • Rasa shastra drugs also had significantly higher median concentrations of lead and mercury.
  • All metal-containing products exceeded 1 or more standards for acceptable daily intake of toxic metals.

The bottom line?
The authors did the math and concluded, “One-fifth of both US-manufactured and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines purchased via the Internet contain detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic.”

Bostonians are all over this issue. The 20% incidence reported here is the same as reported earlier after purchasing Ayurvedic medicines from the surrounding community. An association between Ayurvedic medicines and lead poisoning is discussed here.

8/27/08 09:18 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.