Most herbal products contain ingredients not listed on labels, according to new research from the University of Guelph. The study sends out a warning to the consumers, suggesting them to be careful of natural health products.
The study used DNA barcoding technology to test 44 herbal products sold by 12 companies. It was found that most companies substitute cheaper alternatives and use fillers (such as rice, soybeans and wheat). Nearly 60 percent of the herbal products contained plant species not listed on the label while there was product substitution in 32 percent of the samples.
Contamination and substitution in herbal products present considerable health risks for consumers,"
According to the lead author, Steven Newmaster, an integrative biology professor and botanical director of the Guelph-based Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), home of the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding, contamination was found in several products with plants that have known toxicity, side effects and/or negatively interact with other herbs, supplements and medication.
The study is published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.
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