TOXIC TEST PRESCRIBED FOR HERBAL DRUGS
Testing of all herbal medicines in India (ayurvedic ,unani and siddha) for heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium will soon be compulsory.
From January 1, every licensed manufacturer of herbal products in the country will have to display a heavy metals within permissible limits sign on their containers before exporting them.
A health ministry survey recently showed that one in every five herbal products contains potentially toxic levels of heavy metals. Recently , the Canadian government had also banned the sale of Indian ayurvedic medicines in the country because it contained high levels of metals like lead, mercury and arsenic.
The products that face the axe for being unsafe for consumption include hamdard’s Safi,dabur’s Shilajit, Himalaya drug’s Karela Capsules and Zandu Pharma’s Maha Sudarshan Churna Powder.
The Canadian government’s advisory followed a review of a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that found potentially harmful levels of lead ,mercury and arsenic in 14 commercially available Indian ayurvedic medicinal products sold in Boston.
Shiv Basant ,joint secretary ,department of Unani, Ayurveda,Yoga and Naturopathy ,told TOI, Such incidents dent the image of the entire ayurvedic fraternity. we will not take any chances anymore. For now on ,if any herbal product contains even one of the 18 potentially toxic elements as mentioned in schedule E of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of India,1940 ,manufacturers will have to post a statutory warning asking consumers to buy them under medical supervision .All products will have to mention all the ingredients they contain as against the exact quantity .The licence of the manufacturers will be cancelled if they don’t follow this direction .
The permissible limits for arsenic ,lead and cadmium will be as recommended by WHO on quality control methods for medicinal plants and materials.
‘Sreeram’ is the pen name of the above abstract writer. His name in the professional field is V.Sree Rama Rao, B.E. ( Mech ), MIMA, M.I.E. is a Techno- commercial business consultant based at Mumbai the financial capital of India. He can be contacted on
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