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Jun 15,2007
WellNews: Herbaloney - Effects of herbal supplements
by Scott LaFee

Lots of people swear by herbal supplements. Last year, Americans spent $22.3 billion on herbs like echinacea, ginkgo biloba, Saint-John's-wort and goldenseal.

But a new study, published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, indicates many people also have no idea whether these touted remedies are effective. Worse, they're largely ignorant of the potential health risks.

 
HERBALONEY - A new study shows that many people have no idea whether herbal remedies are effective. Worse, people are largely ignorant of the potential health risks they pose. CNS Photo.  
 
MEDTRONICA - The Beauty Brains Web site at http://thebeautybrains.com isn't filled with subjects about life or death, but if you have questions or concerns about beauty products and practices, this is an interesting site to surf. CNS Photo. 
The most common mistake, scientists said, is assuming herbal supplements actually work. Nineteen percent of Americans, according to studies, take herbal supplements. More than half use them to treat specific health conditions.

And yet, more than two-thirds of supplements have never been clinically proven to be effective for the specific conditions they're advertised to ease or cure.

Supplements that offer no benefit but also do no harm are merely a waste of money. More worrisome, said Dr. Aditya Bardia of the Mayo Clinic, are supplements that can actually produce adverse effects, from nausea and vomiting to liver and kidney dysfunction.

Generally speaking, herbal supplements aren't regulated like traditional drugs. Randomized, controlled clinical trials aren't mandated before they can be sold. The researchers advise patients to always inform their doctors (and doctors should always ask) about herbal supplement use, because interaction with therapeutic drugs can result in worse health and, on occasion, death.

MEDTRONICA

The Beauty Brains http://thebeautybrains.com

The subject isn't life or death (well, not usually), but if you have questions or concerns about beauty products and practices, this is an interesting site to surf. It's not clear who exactly the "Beauty Brains" are, but their responses to e-mailed questions are generally reasoned and informed.

BODY OF KNOWLEDGE

A human hair is 10,000 times thicker than the film of a soap bubble.

GET ME THAT. STAT!

In 1990, no state reported more than 14 percent of its population being clinically obese. In 2005, all 50 do, according to the U.S. Census. Of the 16 Southern states, 12 report more than 25 percent of all adults are clinically obese. Only five other states outside the South report a similar percentage.

NEVER SAY DIET

The world's speed record for eating grilled cheese sandwiches is 26 in 10 minutes.

OBSERVATION

Doctor, feel my purse.

- Jane Ace

CURTAIN CALLS

In 2004, laptop computer-related distractions killed 1,761 American motorists.

STORIES FOR THE WAITING ROOM

The manual "Creative and Sexual Science," published in 1876, offered this advice to women seeking to lose weight: "Bear as many children as often and for as long as possible."

DOC TALK

Crump - a verb meaning to have a sudden change for the worse, as in "After the breakfast, the patient crumped."

PHOBIA OF THE WEEK

Caligynephobia - fear of beautiful women.

BEST MEDICINE

First man: "I woke up this morning and felt so bad that I tried to kill myself by taking a thousand aspirin."

Second man: "What happened?"

First man: "After the first two, I felt better."

FOOT PROBLEMS IN OBESE KIDS

Add foot problems to the growing list of ailments for obese children. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons says more overweight children have foot and ankle pain. The vicious circle of foot pain and obesity may hinder some children from progressing. Researchers say childhood obesity changes foot structure and results in instability when walking. Being overweight flattens the foot, causing heel pain. It also can increase the risk of stress fractures in the heel bones.

CAFFEINE AND WORKOUTS

While caffeine may offer a boost in long-distance activities, when it comes to short-term, high-intensity workouts, it may hurt performance, an International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism study says. Exercisers were given either caffeine (equivalent of three cups of coffee) or a placebo and evaluated on 60-second maximum-effort cycling tests. The caffeine group had higher blood levels of lactic acid produced by overworked muscles and took longer to reach peak power.

Copley News Service

2550 times read

Related news
WellNews: Smoke gets in your mind by Scott_LaFee posted on May 18,2007

Seniors at Risk for Medication-Related Problems by NewsUSA posted on Feb 09,2006

OSU experts: JAMA study about antioxidant vitamin risks flawed by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Mar 02,2007



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  • IN THE NAME OF AYURVEDA WHAT MANY PEOPLE TREAD---THEY KILL THE HEALTHY WITH ARSENIC, MERCURY AND LEAD : Of late, Ayurveda has become a tool of deception and fraud at the hands of some modern day quacks and fat profiteers who, in league with high echelons of health and drug authorities of India, are not only luring the gullible people to eat heavy and toxic metals through their pseudo-Ayurvedic medicines, but are also defaming the Ayurvedic system as well, at international level. They are making whimsical and unscientific alterations, deletions, and additions in a tailor-made style in certain ancient Ayurvedic formulations, and are selling these harmful pseudo-Ayurvedic medicines at exorbitant price, after stuffing them in colourful and glittering packagings, and raising some catchy ( but false ) slogans. Whereas Ayurveda believes that nothing is good for everybody, and everything is good for somebody, but Indian profiteers work on the principle that everything made by them under the disguise of ‘herbal” is good for every body. Whereas largely in India, and partially in the U. S., owing to political or other reasons, hardly the Governments move to take action against fraudulent companies indulging in making false marketing claims, but countries like Finland, Mexico, even Nepal, etc., are highly serious and vigilant in this direction. In such types of cases, Finland’s National Food Agency (FNFA.), in a clampdown in the year 2003, banned several food supplement makers from making false health claims. This Finnish agency imposed a number of marketing bans, thus preventing many of the companies from making misleading information. In July 2003 Finland announced the setting up of a network of experts to assess the research-based evidence behind health claims. Among the companies pulled up by the FNFA., some were making unsubstantiated claims that their products improved performance, increased resistance, and had a favorable influence on vital functions. Food marketing in Finland is currently being governed by Section 6 of the Food Act. Also in July 2003, a proposed European health claims directive was published for getting passed by Parliament and the European Council before becoming law in 2005, and it would govern health claims in Finland from then on. [ source : http://www.nutringredients.com ]. On June 19, 2003, America’s Federal Trade Commission ( FTC ) and the Food & Drug Administration ( FDA ) had announced coordinated actions against two quack companies—both charged with promoting a dietary supplement “SEASILVER” with unsubstantiated medical claims. The action of these two Govt. agencies against M/s SEASILVER USA, INC. and M/s AMERICALOE, INC. were designed to halt the fraudulent marketing of the product Seasilver, and to seize the inventory of the product. The FTC had charged the two companies, their owners, the distributor, as well as a purported “expert” with making false and unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits and safety of a product they marketed under the brand “Seasilver”—a purported cure all liquid supplement. Indian herbal remedies are coming under constant attack From learned Vaidyas and allopathic doctors, But the Indian Govt. is unruffled: A straightforward condemnation from noted Vaidyas and scientists, of a useless products like CHAYAVANPRASH, has already been highlighted in the press. Further to this polemical chapter, in a short note published by some DR. S. KUMAR in the most prestigious medical journal, Lancet ( Vol. 351, Page 1190, April 18, 1998 ), it is stated that Indian traditional medical systems, such as Ayurveda, have come under heavy criticism for irrational and outdated practices. In this note, VAIDYA BALENDU PRAKSH, chairman of Health Ministry’s Central Ayurvedic, Siddha, and Unani Drugs technical advisory board, is quoted to have said, “THE MAJORITY OF AYURVEDIC FORMULATIONS AVAILABLE IN THE MARKET ARE EITHER SPURIOUS, ADULTERATED, OR MISBRANDED”. In another reference, made in the same note, to DR. RANJIT ROY CHAUDHARY, chairman of the scientific advisory board on Traditional System of Medicine of the Indian Council of Medical Research ( ICMR ), is also reported to have said that Standardization of such drugs is very poor, and essential ingredients are often substituted with non-active plants of similar appearance. Not only this, according to Vaidy Balendu Prakash most commercially available preparations do not even conform to ancient Ayurvedic texts. These texts have clearly stated that herbs loose their medicinal properties just a year after collection; powders made from them remain effective only for 6 months, and pastes last maximum for 1 year. Yet, commercial formulations, like Chayavanprash, usually print an expiry date as 3 years, by which time the product turns into the grave-yard of dead and decomposed herbs ]. According to Vaidya Balendu Prakash, quality control of Ayurvedic products is virtually non-existent; but traders, government agencies, and the industries themselves are absolutely unwilling to adopt any guidelines. In this context Dr. S. Kumar’s note titled, “INDIAN HERBAL REMEDIES COME UNDER ATTACK”, published in the journal Lancet, is worth reading. Similarly, a research paper by a group of seven doctors, headed by R. B. SAPER, published in the Journal of American Medical Association [ Dec 15, 2004 ; Vol. 292, No. 23, Page 2868-73 ] it is stated that one of 5 Ayurvedic herbal medicinal products (HMPs) manufactured in South Asia, and available in Boston South Asian grocery stores, contains potentially harmful levels of lead ( Pb ) mercury ( Hg ), and / or arsenic ( As ). Users of Ayurvedic medicine may be at risk for heavy metal toxicity, and testing of Ayurvedic HMPs for toxic heavy metals should be mandatory. But will it be possible in the corrupt work culture of India ? In the years 2003 and 2004, the Nepalese drug authorities openly ignited an entire seized stock of non-sensical herbal tonic, SONA CHANDI CHYAVANPRASH, by declaring that the tall and scientifically impossible health claims made for this product were against the law of Nepal.
  • (Posted on June 16, 2007, 9:09 am G. S. JOHAR)

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