Ayurvedic medicines laden with toxic heavy metals

By Andy Coghlan Do Ayurvedic medicines cure or cause harm? That’s the question raised by a study showing that 21% of 193 traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicines bought on the internet from US or Indian sources contained high amounts of lead, mercury or arsenic. One sample of a preparation called Ekangvir Ras had 26,000 parts per million of lead. This compares with a US legal limit of 2 ppm in pharmaceutically produced calcium tablets for the elderly. In a subset of preparations called Rasa Shastra medicines, minerals with heavy metals are deliberately added. “Ayurvedic practitioners think that if these are mixed properly, they are non-toxic, but that conflicts head-on with conventional scientific thinking,” says Robert Saper of Boston University School of Medicine. Saper wants regulators to limit the heavy metals in all food supplements. Journal reference: Journal of the American Medical Association, (vol 300,
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