Is it Safe?
The safety of herbal remedies has been the subject of much debate. Herbal medicines must be produced to good manufacturing practice and must be free from adulteration. Medications manufactured in the Westernised industrial nations or grown by herbalists themselves are almost certainly completely safe. Problems may occur with some patented medicines imported from Asia and the Far East, or sometimes with the pure herbal products which may not be always as pure as one might expect. There are case reports of fatal events occurring in consequence of herbal products taken inappropriately; an outbreak of kidney disease occurred after taking "Chinese herbs" prescribed by a slimming clinic in Belgium some 10 years ago. Herbs may also interact with conventional medication.
Reproduced with the kind permission of BMA Publications from Professor George Lewith's book, Understanding Complementary Medicine.