Saturday, May 07, 2005

Natural is not necessarily safe

The nations have become increasingly health-conscious but also vulnerable to "quick fixes." We are turning more and more to so-called "natural" remedies, including some dangerous supplements.

Everyone knows that pharmaceuticals can be harmful in overdose, but the whole herbal industry is based upon the absurd notion that the complex cocktail of chemicals in any herb can be presumed safe because it is natural.

I consider it ridiculous to claim that any herbal supplements that can be bought by anyone of any intelligence to use in any dosage for any purpose, and that are also marketed as "safe because natural", should be held to less rigorous standards of safety than pharmaceuticals requiring a prescription and usually used under medical supervision.

I find that chemicals used to treat anything are serious, regardless of the source.

For example, is the pill I'm taking really 10mg or 20, or maybe only 5? What is the variance in each pill? What if the strength of the active ingredients in tabletd varies so widely within a package that it is theoretically possible for someone to get no active ingredients, or get an overdose of the active ingredients?

Also a supplement can be bought right off the shelf or over the internet with no guidance whatsoever.

Ephedra is a "natural" product that was used as a natural weight-loss supplement, and marketed without any scientific data about safety. Ephedra was banned by the FDA. They found that it is not necessarily the case that anything present in nature must be healthy.

More information online at:

We also have Senokot, a potentially harmful Senna-based laxative being promoted as a "natural" treatment for "sluggishness" and with the implication that anyone will feel better for taking some..

More information:

Supplements Associated with Illnesses and Injuries

Harmful Effects of Herbs

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