Friday, December 19, 2008

Presence of metals in Ayurvedic drugs within permissible limit

Published: December 19,2008

New Delhi, Dec 19 :India today denied that some Auyurvedic drugs manufactured by leading companies contained toxic heavy metals more than their permissible limit as reported in a US journal.

The article, which appeared in August 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), said detectable levels of lead, mercury or arsenic were found in some Ayurvedic products manufactured by Goodcare Pharma, Baidyanath, Maharishi Ayurved and Sharangdhar Pharmaceuticals.

The US Food and Drug Administration had urged the consumers to use caution with Ayurvedic products based on the information contained in the JAMA article, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said in the Rajya Sabha.

He said the government took immediate steps to test the samples of the drugs mentioned in the JAMA article in labs accredited by the National Accreditation Board of Laboratories (NABL).

" After examination it was found that no Indian-exported herbal Ayurvedic medicine contained toxic heavy metals more than the permissible limit,"he said.

Presence of heavy metals was not detected in purely herbal Ayurvedic formulations, he added.

The minister also informed the House that metals are essential ingredients of formulations in herbo-mineral and herbo-metallic preparations. However, they are permitted to be used only after due purification and only in small quantities to act as catalysts for activation of other herbal ingredients to increase the efficacy of the medicine.

Nevertheless, the Centre has made testing for heavy metals mandatory in all purely herbal Ayurved, Siddha and Unani medicines to be exported since January 2006, he added. [Source: PTI]
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