Researchers from Murdoch University in Australia detected potential toxins in powers, tablets, capsules, flakes and herbal teas used in traditional chinese medicine. They also found the DNA of endangered animals.
“Some of the TCMs contained plants of the genus Ephedra and Asarum. These plants contain chemicals which can be toxic if the wrong dosage is taken, but none of them actually listed concentrations on the packaging,” said research leader Dr Mike Bunce. (Source: SF Gate) Is it more disturbing the traditional chinese medicine products contain potential toxins, or that the labeling contains no information about their concentrations? Equally shocking is that some of the products tested were shown to contain traces of black bear and Saiga antelope. Other samples contained parts of species which are vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered.
“We found multiple samples that contained DNA from animals listed as trade-restricted according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Legislation. Put simply, these TCMs are illegal,” said Megan Coglan, one of the researchers. (Source: SF Gate)
The tests also revealed deceptive labeling. A product claiming to be 100% Saiga antelope, actually contained goat and sheep DNA. More importantly, Saiga antelope are critically endangered because poachers keep killing them based on the false belief their horns have medicinal properties.
These unscientific and very outdated beliefs are driving the trade in illegal wildlife, which include rhino horn and tiger parts. Some TCM products should never be used, because they may harm consumers and cause rampant destruction of wild species. A New Zealand professor said of the DNA research, “I personally would not use or recommend any TCM biological product for the reasons outlined above.”
(Source: New Zealand Herald)
Image Credit: Tiarescott