Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ayurvedic medicines often contaminated by toxic metals, study says

Ayurvedic medicines -- herbal mixtures dating back thousands of years in India and increasingly popular in the West -- are frequently contaminated with lead, mercury or arsenic, according to a study published today. A fifth of the nearly 200 concoctions tested contained levels of the toxic metals that, if taken at the maximum recommended doses, would surpass California's safety guidelines.

Dr. Robert Saper, a Boston University professor of family medicine who led the study, said the findings should spur the Food and Drug Administration to start clamping down on the largely unregulated world of pills, herbs and powders classified as dietary supplements.

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