Study: Many Herbal Supplements Aren’t What the Label Says


herbal-supplementsBottles of Walmart-brand echinacea, an herb said to ward off colds, were found to contain no echinacea at all. GNC-brand bottles of St. John’s wort, touted as a cure for depression, held rice, garlic and a tropical houseplant, but not a trace of the herb.

In fact, DNA testing on hundreds of bottles of store-brand herbal supplements sold as treatments for everything from memory loss to prostate trouble found that four out of five contained none of the herbs on the label. Instead, they were packed with cheap fillers such as wheat, rice, beans or houseplants.

Based on the testing commissioned by his office, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday he has sent letters to the four major store chains involved – GNC, Target, Walmart and Walgreens – demanding that they immediately stop selling adulterated or mislabeled dietary supplements. Read more at ABC NEWS.

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  1. Just because it’s not made by a big drug company doesn’t mean it’s effective – or even safe. Some people have landed in the hospital after taking these “safe, natural” products.

    If you don’t believe what Pfeizer tells you to make money, why should you believe what GNC says? And remember that “dietary supplements” aren’t checked out even as well as drugs.

    The stuff some of my friends swallow without any kind of background check makes me shudder. It isn’t even safe to take what the FDA approves, so why should you trust what a “natural” foods chain says?

  2. I have a relative who died from taking an herbal supplement. (I have the medical records which attribute his death to the damage caused by the herbal supplement) The doctors who treated him said a large number of patients they treat are there because of herbal supplements. Use them with caution!

  3. Of course, I say “Triple Dittoes” to Comment #1. from “My Take” and to Comment #2. from “Oldtimer.”

    It is certainly very wonderful that people are realizing the great value and benefit of Herbs and vitamins and other types of natural medicines. That there is a massive prolification of these products, shows that there is a strong demand for them.

    However, as with the making of any item, it greatly depends on who is the person who is making it! Very unfortunately, very many of the companies that are today making these products are either ignorant of how to properly make them, or, they do not even CARE about how to properly make them [and the only reason why they are hopping on the natural bandwagon to make these items is (as they know that there is a demand for them) they see a way to make $$].

    Therefore, very unfortuntely, very many of the vitamins and herbs that are being marketed today are very UN-natural “natural” products!

    This is such a crucial point that I will repeat it:

    Very unfortuntely, very many of the vitamins and herbs that are being marketed today are very UN-natural “natural” products!

    In most of them, the vitamin substances themselves are synthetically created. Then there are numerous other synthetic substances used as “fillers,” “binders,” and “preservatives.” A look at the list of ingredients of many such products often reveals a long list of hard-to-pronounce chemical names. And in some products, there will be further listed for the colorings names like “FD&C Red (dye) 40” or/and “FD&C Yellow (dye) 6.”

    The plants that are used for the herbs and the sources of much of the vitamin substances were themselves grown with numerous severely deadly poisons of insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other pesticides. Furthermore, many of them have been Genetically Modified.

    So yes, we are certainly dealing with some pretty UN-natural “natural” products, which, when used, will probably cause more harm than good.

  4. (Continuation of previous remarks)

    Of course, each company is different; some are clearly better than others, and some are clearly worse than others. Furthermore, each store will likely market products of several different brands. As Matzav obviously CANNOT advertise, I obviously cannot mention any names at all. All that, B’Ezras Hashem, I can do is say a few VERY GENERAL considerations:

    Most of the vitamin/herbal products that will be sold in the very big highly commercialized discount supermarket type drug & department stores will usually be of the very poor quality UN-natural type that I related above.

    Most of the vitamin/herbal products that will be sold in good health food stores will usually be immensely much, much better than the outright UN-natural items at the super commercialized type places.

    However, the issues of the SOURCES of vitamin materials are continually becoming more and more complicated and difficult. This is especially aggravated by the severely terrible growing proliferation of Genetically Modified plants. So, unfortunately, some of even what is sold in health food stores may well not be ideal either.

    What, Im Yirtza Hashem, is usually “ideal” are the products made by PROFESSIONAL companies. They try extremely hard to get all of their materials from truly natural organic sources and, of course, avoid all GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms). They further work with the FDA, having government officers at their plants to ensure product integrity and quality.

    A few of these professional brands are sold in some health food stores. The bulk of them though, are usually sold in the officies of Holistic/Natural physicians. (These are doctors who are specialists in nutritional and/or herbal and/or other forms of Holistic/Natural medicine.) There are also numerous special nutrient stores that are technically “extensions” of doctor officies and thus market the professional brands. Also, most of the professional brands can be purchased at numerous online nutrient stores.


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