Dr. A. Velumani’s Personal Blog

Herbal medicines/ Ayurvedic Preparations : “Are they completely safe?”

Synthetic pharmaceutical drugs may produce long-term known or unknown side effects. May be a valid argument. Looking for alternative medicines has become the need and herbal medicines are being explored. But the question still is “is it completely safe?” The contents of herbal medicines or various ayurvedic preparations are not known. They may contain mild to severe toxic substances (biological origin) or contamination (heavy metals), which if consumed for a long duration, may have deleterious effects. At least in case of standard pharmaceutical preparations, the contents are known or defined, studied and compared and many regulatory bodies have knowledge and control over their performance and side effects. Sadly, the Indian governmental regulatory body allows ayurvedic preparations to be marketed without stringent toxicity evaluation as is mandatory for all other pharmaceutical preparations, simply because these preparations have been in use for centuries. A good number of supplements of medicines may be safe enough. Thereby, presuming all herbal preparations to be safe, without even providing information and evidence on their safety, accepting and adopting all such preparations or recommending them to patients may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

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