Herbal Products Missing Key Information Required for Safe Use

Between 1996 and 2007, use of herbal supplements in the U.S. rose by a staggering 83% [1]. Many people use herbal medicines mistakenly believing them to be safe simply because they are ‘natural’. However, just like conventional drugs, herbal medicines alter normal body physiology. And despite their wholesome image, many herbal products have adverse effects and may have dangerous interactions with other drugs and dietary supplements. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine reveals that most over-the-counter herbal products do not contain any of the key information required for safe use [2].

Herbal medicines

Study Questions Ability of Garlic to Lower LDL Cholesterol

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine this week concluded that garlic supplementation does not improve cholesterol profiles in people with moderately high levels of LDL cholesterol (defined here as a fasting plasma LDL cholesterol concentration of 130 to 190 mg/dL, a triglyceride level less than 250 mg/dL and body mass index, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, of 19 to 30). The study is the first independent, long-term assessment of raw garlic and two popular garlic supplements. Raw garlic (4g/day for 6 months), powdered garlic and aged garlic extract supplement were tested on 192 adults with moderately high levels of LDL cholesterol. None of the garlic forms studied had statistically or clinically significant effects on LDL cholesterol or other plasmid lipid concentrations. The results contradict other recent findings suggesting that garlic may be beneficial in heart health by reducing moderately high levels of LDL cholesterol in adults [1-2].