Warning issued regarding toxins in traditional Chinese medicines
A warning has been issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regarding the levels of toxins in some traditional Chinese medication – some of which are meant for children. None of the traditional medicines in question are authorised for use in the UK, but investigators found that they are readily available on the Internet.
One product in particular was discovered to have ‘extremely high’ levels of arsenic by the Swedish National Food Agency (SFNA). This product goes by many names, including: Niu-Huang Chieh-tu-pein, Chandraprabha Vatiand and Divya Kaishore Guggul. The medicine is used for treating sore throats, mumps, toothache, skin infections and fever in young children.
Another product that goes by the name of Bak Foong Pills, is used to treat period pain, but has recently been recalled after it was found to contain twice the level of lead allowed by the Hong Kong government. Mercury has also been found in some medicines, revealing the variety of toxins being included.
Richard Woodfield, MHRA’s head of herbal policy advises people to use extreme caution when purchasing any unlicensed medicines.
“The adulteration of traditional Chinese medicines with heavy metals is a significant international problem and can pose a serious risk to public health. Natural does not mean safe. To help you choose a herbal medicine that is suitable for you, look for a product that has a Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) or product licence number on the packaging. These products have met the acceptable quality and safety standards.”
You are always advised to seek out a qualified herbal therapist who complies with regulations within the industry. To find out more about Chinese herbal medicine and to find a qualified therapist, please view our Chinese Herbal Medicine page.
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