New Study On Fake Herbal Treatments Raises Important Issues Says Reza Ghorbani, MD, ABIPP, FIPP A Pain Management Specialist

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A new study showing that many herbal supplements purporting to be healers are fakes is significant, but it doesn’t mean patients should give up on legitimate natural treatments that relieve pain, says Reza Ghorbani, MD, ABIPP, FIPP, president and medical director of the Advanced Pain Medicine Institute of Greater Washington, DC.

'Everyone has a right to know the exact contents of a given therapy since for one thing you cannot avoid allergic reactions when you don’t know what is in the product.' -Dr. Ghorbani

A new study published in BMC Medical Journal shows that many herbal supplements purporting to be healers are fakes is significant, but it doesn’t mean patients should give up on legitimate natural treatments that relieve pain, says Reza Ghorbani, MD, ABIPP, FIPP, president and medical director of the Advanced Pain Medicine Institute of Greater Washington, DC.

“The buyer should beware. Products that aren’t clearly labeled may contain harmful substances. Without adequate product testing of active ingredients before and after manufacturing it is impossible to know what exactly is in these products. Testing ingredients and using “common names” for ingredients should provide consumers what they need to know. For instance would a vegan want to know that the product contains ingredients come from animal extracts. It’s important to evaluate any treatment to assess its risks and benefits,” says Dr. Ghorbani.

According to the study just published in the journal BMC Medicine and highlighted in the “New York Times”, DNA analysis showed widespread contamination, adulteration and mislabeling of herbal supplements. The conclusions are disputed by the supplement industry, but Dr. Ghorbani says, the findings raise a legitimate concern.

“No doubt more could be done, and even without additional regulation the supplement industry needs to act more transparently. Everyone has a right to know the exact contents of a given therapy since for one thing you cannot avoid allergic reactions when you don’t know what is in the product,” says Dr. Ghorbani.

Dr. Ghorbani is the author of the new book “Secrets to a Pain Free Life” and the inventor of Noxicare™, Natural Pain Relief products. He warns that while labels should speak plainly and truthfully, many of them are obscure or even written in Latin.

“If the supplement industry doesn’t move toward clarity, its detractors will always have ammunition they can use. Ultimately, patients will be the big losers. If they get disillusioned by the debate, they may turn away altogether from an opportunity to get safe and effective pain relief from herbal anti-inflammatories,” he concludes.

Another issue is the language on the label, which may contain obscure scientific terms, or even Latin phrases. “Who would know if an ingredient listed as Rhus Toxicondendron were actually poison ivy even though that would be very useful information?” asks Ghorbani.

For more information visit, drghorbani.com. "Secrets to a Pain Free Life" is available on Amazon.com.

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