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Heavy metal content of ayurvedic herbal medicine products.

Abstract

CONTEXT

Lead, mercury, and arsenic intoxication have been associated with the use of Ayurvedic herbal medicine product (HMPs).

OBJECTIVES

To determine the prevalence and concentration of heavy metals in Ayurvedic HMPs manufactured in South Asia and sold in Boston-area stores and to compare estimated daily metal ingestion with regulatory standards.

DESIGN AND SETTING

Systematic search strategy to identify all stores 20 miles or less from Boston City Hall that sold Ayurvedic HMPs from South Asia by searching online Yellow Pages using the categories markets, supermarkets, and convenience stores, and business names containing the word India, Indian cities, and Indian words. An online national directory of Indian grocery stores, a South Asian community business directory, and a newspaper were also searched. We visited each store and purchased all unique Ayurvedic HMPs between April 25 and October 24, 2003.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES

Concentrations (microg/g) of lead, mercury, and arsenic in each HMP as measured by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. Estimates of daily metal ingestion for adults and children estimated using manufacturers' dosage recommendations with comparisons to US Pharmacopeia and US Environmental Protection Agency regulatory standards.

RESULTS

A total of 14 (20%) of 70 HMPs (95% confidence interval, 11%-31%) contained heavy metals: lead (n = 13; median concentration, 40 microg/g; range, 5-37,000), mercury (n = 6; median concentration, 20,225 microg/g; range, 28-104,000), and/or arsenic (n = 6; median concentration, 430 microg/g; range, 37-8130). If taken as recommended by the manufacturers, each of these 14 could result in heavy metal intakes above published regulatory standards.

CONCLUSIONS

One of 5 Ayurvedic HMPs produced in South Asia and available in Boston South Asian grocery stores contains potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury, and/or arsenic. Users of Ayurvedic medicine may be at risk for heavy metal toxicity, and testing of Ayurvedic HMPs for toxic heavy metals should be mandatory.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies, Osher Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. robert.saper@bmc.org

    , , , , ,

    Source

    JAMA 292:23 2004 Dec 15 pg 2868-73

    MeSH

    Arsenic
    Arsenic Poisoning
    Asia, Southeastern
    Boston
    Commerce
    Heavy Metal Poisoning
    Humans
    Lead
    Lead Poisoning
    Legislation, Drug
    Medicine, Ayurvedic
    Mercury
    Mercury Poisoning
    Metals, Heavy
    Plant Preparations
    Risk
    Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
    United States

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    15598918

    Citation

    Saper, Robert B., et al. "Heavy Metal Content of Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine Products." JAMA, vol. 292, no. 23, 2004, pp. 2868-73.
    Saper RB, Kales SN, Paquin J, et al. Heavy metal content of ayurvedic herbal medicine products. JAMA. 2004;292(23):2868-73.
    Saper, R. B., Kales, S. N., Paquin, J., Burns, M. J., Eisenberg, D. M., Davis, R. B., & Phillips, R. S. (2004). Heavy metal content of ayurvedic herbal medicine products. JAMA, 292(23), pp. 2868-73.
    Saper RB, et al. Heavy Metal Content of Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine Products. JAMA. 2004 Dec 15;292(23):2868-73. PubMed PMID: 15598918.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Heavy metal content of ayurvedic herbal medicine products. AU - Saper,Robert B, AU - Kales,Stefanos N, AU - Paquin,Janet, AU - Burns,Michael J, AU - Eisenberg,David M, AU - Davis,Roger B, AU - Phillips,Russell S, PY - 2004/12/16/pubmed PY - 2004/12/18/medline PY - 2004/12/16/entrez SP - 2868 EP - 73 JF - JAMA JO - JAMA VL - 292 IS - 23 N2 - CONTEXT: Lead, mercury, and arsenic intoxication have been associated with the use of Ayurvedic herbal medicine product (HMPs). OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and concentration of heavy metals in Ayurvedic HMPs manufactured in South Asia and sold in Boston-area stores and to compare estimated daily metal ingestion with regulatory standards. DESIGN AND SETTING: Systematic search strategy to identify all stores 20 miles or less from Boston City Hall that sold Ayurvedic HMPs from South Asia by searching online Yellow Pages using the categories markets, supermarkets, and convenience stores, and business names containing the word India, Indian cities, and Indian words. An online national directory of Indian grocery stores, a South Asian community business directory, and a newspaper were also searched. We visited each store and purchased all unique Ayurvedic HMPs between April 25 and October 24, 2003. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Concentrations (microg/g) of lead, mercury, and arsenic in each HMP as measured by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. Estimates of daily metal ingestion for adults and children estimated using manufacturers' dosage recommendations with comparisons to US Pharmacopeia and US Environmental Protection Agency regulatory standards. RESULTS: A total of 14 (20%) of 70 HMPs (95% confidence interval, 11%-31%) contained heavy metals: lead (n = 13; median concentration, 40 microg/g; range, 5-37,000), mercury (n = 6; median concentration, 20,225 microg/g; range, 28-104,000), and/or arsenic (n = 6; median concentration, 430 microg/g; range, 37-8130). If taken as recommended by the manufacturers, each of these 14 could result in heavy metal intakes above published regulatory standards. CONCLUSIONS: One of 5 Ayurvedic HMPs produced in South Asia and available in Boston South Asian grocery stores contains potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury, and/or arsenic. Users of Ayurvedic medicine may be at risk for heavy metal toxicity, and testing of Ayurvedic HMPs for toxic heavy metals should be mandatory. SN - 1538-3598 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/15598918/full_citation L2 - https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/10.1001/jama.292.23.2868 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -