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Safety label warning over herbal remedies

Some herbal remedies are lacking clear safety information on possible side effects, researchers say.

Earlier this year, new EU rules said many herbal products should carry warnings on side effects and interactions with other prescription medicines.

But new research has shown that even products that fall under these new rules are available online and in shops without the safety information, and old stock is still on sale.

Experts are now warning people to look out for a "THR" logo on products, showing they have traditional herbal registration.

The study looked for information on precautions, such as Asian ginseng not being suitable for people with diabetes, interactions with conventional medicines, such as St John's Wort, not to be used with the contraceptive pill and warfarin, and any side effects, such as ginkgo leading to possible allergic reactions.



Harm

Overall, 51 (75pc) of 68 products examined contained none of the key safety messages. Many products were unlicensed, meaning they fell outside of rules saying they should carry warnings.

University of Leeds professor of pharmacy Theo Raynor, who led the study, said: "The best advice to consumers is buyer beware, as it always has been.

"However, any substance that affects the body - no matter where it came from - has the potential to do harm if it is not taken correctly."

hnews@herald.ie


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