Lead, mercury and arsenic found in ayurvedic medicines

A new study says around twenty per cent of ayurvedic products purchased through the internet have significant levels of arsenic, lead and mercury.

The results are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Lead study author Dr Robert Saper from the Boston University School of Medicine, said products made in the US were more likely to exhibit the heavy metals than those made in India, where ayurvedic medicine was first developed over a thousand years ago.

"We randomly purchased 193 traditional Indian (ayurvedic) medicine products from the Internet. About 60 percent were from U.S. companies and 40 percent from Indian companies. Twenty-one percent had significant levels of lead, mercury and arsenic," Dr Saper said to Medline Plus.

High levels can be toxic.

Ayurvedic medicine involves eight branches or ashtanga including internal medicine, surgery, paediatrics, toxicology, ears-eyes-nose-and-throat, rejuvenation and fertility therapy. These can involve special diets, yoga, massage and more.

Herbal medicines combined with the aforementioned metals and gems such as pearls are known as rasa shastra, which proponents say are used as anti-microbials and anti-cancer agents similar to how cisplatin or silver are used in western medicine.

In rasa shastra it is argued that the metals are elaborately processed to oxides, salts and ashes without the same biological activity as the more active, unprocessed compounds.

Dr Saper however, argued to Medline Plus that while, "many traditional Indian practitioners believe quite strongly that if rasa shastra is done correctly, it is safe," he feels the practices should be "seriously called into question."

He doesn't believe in deliberately ingesting lead, mercury or arsenic.

Around 41 per cent of the rasa shastra products surveyed had higher levels of the metals, which the researchers say, “could result in lead and/or mercury ingestions 100 to 10,000 times greater than acceptable limits," reports Medline Plus.

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This is a very interesting piece of research but what is missing in this article is who should be most concerned.

In particular women considering becoming pregnant, pregnant women and growing children are most at risk.

The most common dietary form of mercury is methylmercury which commonly accumulates in certain fish and molluscs.

Food Standards NZ and Australia recommend no more than one serving of orange roughy for women of child bearing age or children 2-6 years old.

The biggest problem is the toxic effect mercury has on developing nerve cells, particularly in the brain. This puts the foetal brains at much greater risk even at lower concentrations of mercury.

This again raises the question of the safety of mercury containing amalgam dental fillings, particularly when two countries, Norway and Sweden, have just this year banned their use.

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That report takes medicines from non-reputed online sources and claims they are toxic. It completely ignores popular Ayurvedic brands like Himalaya and Kerala Ayurveda. It is a biased report - that study conclusions are not representative of Ayurveda. Its aimed at smearing herbal and holistic medical practices, which are more time-tested than any FDA approved drug.

Don't forget that first drug for Malaria was a herbal medicine.

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some more about manufacturing and other governmemt polies

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And I thought that I can't think of anything more worse than an <a rel="follow" href="http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Drug-Treatment-Center-Drug-Detox... rehab</a>. It seems that I was so wrong. I really can't understand how such elements can be found in certain naturist products... Maybe they are trying to fight fire with fire... Hopefully, we won't get burnt in the process.

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