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Indian Ayurveda in troubled waters abroad.

Ayurvedic medicines exported from India to Canada have run in troubled waters. An alert has been sounded on 18 types of Ayurvedic medicines by the Canadian government. //

The action has been taken because the samples which were tested contained heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic much beyond the permissible limits.

The reason was that most of the medicines did not have labels declaring the presence of those heavy metals. The probe was done by the Canadian government’s health department. The findings are present in Journal of the American Medical Association.

The reason attributed to the presence of these heavy metals in the medicines is pollution of soil and water. The names of the medicines found to contain high content of heavy metals were Mahayogaraj Guggulu with silver and Makardhwaj (Baidyanath), Mahalaxmi Vilas with gold (Baidyanath), Navratna Rasa (Unjha Pharmacy) and Swarna Mahayograj Gugglu with gold (Baidyanath). Products of big companies like Dabur and Zandu are also on the caution list.

It has been mentioned in the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules 1954, prevalent in India, that labels on medicines should mention all the ingredients. As per Rule 161, medicines containing poisonous substances like mercury, arsenic and red oxide of lead have to carry a warning.

In order to pose a solution the government is making mandatory for testing of all herbal medicines, including Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddha from January 1, 2006. Every licensed manufacturer of herbal products in the country will have to declare the content of heavy metals on the containers before exports.


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