Herbal Supplements: a Controversial Pill to Swallow

Herbal supplements tend to attract controversy, and if the legal skirmish in New York is any indication, it will probably continue for a while longer.

The attorney general’s office of New York conducted an investigation of herbal supplements at four major retailers—GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart—and found that many did not contain the advertised herb and/or included adulterated content not listed on the label. As a result, the office ordered the stores to pull supplements like echinacea, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba off their shelves.

This article by Dr. Mercola calls into question their testing techniques, specifically, DNA barcoding. His main argument: many herbal supplements contain extracts which lose DNA material during processing. So even if the material is present in the listed form, it may not show up in the testing.

He goes on to say that, counter to media reports, the FDA does regulate dietary supplements. He also argues that over a hundred thousand people a year die from FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.

Read the full article here: NY Attorney General to Wipe Herbal Supplements from Shelves
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