Originally published in Body Sense magazine, August/Winter 2005. Copyright 2005. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.
Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional form of Indian healing, often uses heavy metals in many of its medicinal products because of their reputed therapeutic values. However, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
suggests that some of these products may contain a high proportion of lead, mercury, and arsenic and may pose health risks for consumers. While the 70 products that were tested originated from 27 different companies, most were created in either India or Thailand. It was also noted that studies in England found similar results, and that traditional medicines from China, Malaysia, Mexico, Africa, and the Middle East have also been shown to contain metals. But according to Light on Ayurveda Education Foundation, the samples obtained were inexpensive products available in Indian grocery stores and illegally imported. Furthermore, the foundation says the study did not examine the high quality products produced by domestic ayurvedic herbal companies. To read a full copy of the foundation's rebuttal to the Harvard-based study, visit www.loaj.com/articles/ayurvedic_metals.html. For a full list of the products tested, visit http://hc-sc.gc.ca/english/protection/warnings/2005/2005_09.html