Division of Herbal Safety and Standards
The purpose of this Government department is to assure that herbal products be safe for human use, and that there is quality control regarding preparation and labeling. This division, unlike the FDA, does not consider the claims made as to effectiveness, only safety.
Never heard of this agency?
That's because it doesn't exist (yet!)
As more and more Americans take all kinds of herbal remedies, we are learning that some toxicity is possible. We need to know more about this. Are cases of acute liver toxicity, for example, due to contaminants or unknown effects of the herbs themselves or something else? Is it OK to take ginkgo and anti-oxidants if you are taking blood-thinners? What about people with existing kidney or liver disease? I don't know the answers to these questions. I am not an herbalist. I am a physician, and many of my patients are taking herbs. I take many common herbs, as do many of you. We really don't know everything we need to about herbal safety.
The costs of this program would not be great, since no research to validate effacy is required, only safety.
This is an important subject, worthy of public awareness. I ask my government to be sure that the herbs I am taking are clean and safe.
Carl Hendel, M.D.