The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

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

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    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

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