AyurvedaConsumer Alert

Absorbability of arsenic and lead in traditional Ayurvedic medicines

Researchers at the Royal Military College of Canada, tested 42 medicines.

First, the details.

  • The laboratory test consisted of a gastric phase at pH 1.8, which containing organic acids, pepsin and salt.
  • Then, an intestinal phase, at pH 7 contained bile and pancreatin.

And, the results.

  • Bioaccessible lead was found in 76% of samples, with a large range of bioaccessibility.
  • 29% of samples had bioaccessible arsenic.
  • Lead bioaccessibility was close to 100% in a medicine (Mahayograj Guggulu) that had been compounded with bhasmas (calcined minerals), including naga (lead) bhasma.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Consumption at recommended doses of all medicines with bioaccessibile lead or arsenic would lead to the exceedance of at least one standard for acceptable daily intake of toxic elements.”

Earlier studies (summarized here, here, and here) documented the extent of heavy metals in Ayurvedic medicine. This study is important because it documents in the lab that arsenic and lead in these medicines is absorbed into the circulation.

8/26/11 21:46 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.