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Herbal Medicines Can Be Lethal, Pathologist Warns

Posted Feb 12 2010 3:28pm

A University of Adelaide forensic pathologist has sounded a worldwide warning of the potential lethal dangers of herbal medicines if taken in large quantitiesinjectedor combined with prescription drugs.

A paper by Professor Roger Byard published in the US-based Journal of Forensic Sciences outlines the highly toxic nature of many herbal substanceswhich a large percentage of users around the world mistakenly believe are safe.

“There’s a false perception that herbal remedies are safer than manufactured medicineswhen in fact many contain potentially lethal concentrations of arsenicmercury and lead,” Professor Byard says.

“These substances may cause serious illnessesexacerbate pre-existing health problems or result in deathparticularly if taken in excess or injected rather than ingested.”

Professor Byard says there can also be fatal consequences when some herbal medicines interact with prescription drugs.

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