Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Toxic Ginseng

One of the dangers with "herbal" medicine, is that you never really know what it is that you are getting. This danger was made even clearer on December 16th when the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) had to seize imported Ginseng that was contaminated with pesticide chemicals, including procymidone and quintozene.

There is no declared safe limit for these two chemicals in food. As a result the FDA have obtained a court order to seize the Ginseng and warn consumers that the contaminated Ginseng is currently on the market. It is not known how widespread the contaminated Ginseng has been distributed.

The contamination was first discovered on July 23rd with a warning being issued on October 4th. A further warning was issued October 21st, but it appears that the company did not comply with the requests of the FDA, requiring firmer action to be taken.

With the time lag between the discovery of the contamination and the seizing of the Ginseng, I can only wonder how many people have been affected by this product. Particularly when the toxic fact-sheet for procymidone advises it can affect male fertility and is unsafe to unborn babies. Proof again that "Natural" and "Safe" are not the same thing.

Under the DSHEA Act, this Ginseng is classed as a food and not a medicinal product. Therefore, it is not required to be tested prior to sale, nor is it required to be proven effective at treating any health condition.

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."