Several so-called Ayurvedic medicines readily available are found to contain steroids and heavy metal, both harmful to the human body if taken in excess
Ayurvedic medicines given by the vaidyas – be it in the form of bhasma or churan-, which people swallow in with great faith, could contain steroid and toxic metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. According to experts, such medicines sold under the ‘Ayurvedic’ preparations often contain steroids and metals, and if used beyond permissible limit could lead to nervousness, indigestion, chest pain, seizures and even coma.
This information was revealed in a Right to Information (RTI) application. Mumbai-based consumer activist Dr AR Shenoy, who has experience in testing adulteration in food and medicine industry, filed an application under the RTI Act. He sought information on analysis of Ayurvedic Drug samples for presence of steroids and toxic metals above permissible limit by the Ayurveda Research Centre of KEM Hospital, Mumbai.
In the reply, the Research Centre revealed that out of the 244 Ayurvedic samples that were analyzed for steroid 96 samples were tested positive. About 18 samples had more than one steroid and it detected steroids like Betamethasone, Dexamethasone, Hydrocortisone, and Prednisolone in these samples.
It also stated that out of the 80 Ayurvedic samples that were analyzed for heavy metal such as mercury, lead and arsenal above permissible limit, 42 were tested positive or contain metals above the limit.
“If the statistics provided by KEM regarding steroid spiked Ayurvedic formulations are taken as an indicator of the state of Ayurvedic malpractice in Mumbai, then every four out of 10 patients undergoing Ayurvedic treatment are probably in danger of steroid toxicity,” says Dr Shenoy.
The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), has kept the permissible limits of lead, mercury or arsenal less than or equal to 0.5 parts per million (ppm).
Dr Shenoy points out that a study, conducted in 2008 for over 230 products (reported in the August issue of USA Today) found that around 20% of remedies (and 40% of rasa shastra medicines) purchased over the Internet from both US and Indian suppliers contained lead, mercury or arsenic.
“Seriously, this issue needs to be tackled in India considering the fact that according to WHO (World Health Organization), up to 80% of people in India use either Ayurveda or other traditional medicines. Due diligence and care is taken or permissible limits followed for Ayurvedic medicines that are exported abroad. However at the domestic level it is absent,” added Dr Shenoy.
Safety concerns have been raised about Ayurveda, with two US studies finding about 20% of Ayurvedic treatments tested contained toxic levels of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. Other concerns include the use of herbs that contain toxic compounds and the lack of quality control in Ayurvedic facilities.
Experts say that such level of toxic metals is hazardous for human body. For instance, lead interferes with body’s metabolism and is toxic to many organs and tissues including heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive system. It hinders development of nervous systems and in severe cases could lead to seizure, coma. Like the element mercury, another heavy metal, lead is a neurotoxin that accumulates both in soft tissues and in the bones. Lead poisoning has been documented from ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and ancient China. Long terms exposure to heavy mercury vapour can result in brain damage and even death.
Due to these concerns, the Government of India ruled that Ayurvedic products must specify their metallic content directly on the labels of the product, but, writing on the subject for Current Science, a publication of the Indian Academy of Sciences, MS Valiathan noted that "the absence of post-market surveillance and the paucity of test laboratory facilities in India make the quality control of Ayurvedic medicines exceedingly difficult at this time.
(This is a Part 1 of a series on adulterated Ayurvedic medicines)
Promoters of virtual companies like Speak Asia earned crore of rupees using the internet. The authorities are now planning to develop a system to alert people about dubious activities of MLMs
Reacting on the proliferation of multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes and financial losses gullible people are suffering due to this menace, the law and enforcement agencies are planning to keep track of activities that are taking place over the Internet.
According to sources, the agencies are developing certain mechanism in collaboration with Internet search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to alert people about dubious activities like MLMs and to keep tab on such money multiplier schemes. However, this cannot be confirmed with top officials.
Earlier, while speaking at a seminar, Rajvardhan, additional commissioner of police, Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Mumbai, warned people about Speak Asia like ponzi schemes and called such schemes a social menace, which is proliferating across the country, especially in rural areas.
Mr Rajvardhan was speaking at a seminar on economic offences. Topics like multi level marketing schemes, forensic accounting to role of serious fraud division in economic offences were covered in the seminar, which was largely attended by officers from law and enforcement agencies.
While he spoke about various such schemes and issue faced during investigation, Mr Rajvardhan refrained from divulging any further information or talking to the press. He called the seminar as a private event even though the formal invitation to media did not say so. Interestingly, most of the information from his presentation is readily available in public domain.
During the seminar a detailed presentation on the various ponzi schemes, their modus operandi and the high income claim they make was made by a senior official. He also touched up on the schemes such as City Limousine, Speak Asia, which have duped people for amounts running in crore.
Talking about the issues faced by the investigating agencies in schemes like Speak Asia, Mr Rajvardhan said these companies are registered abroad and hence it is difficult to trace their money trail. The number of such schemes are increasing and there websites often claims ISO certification, PAN Card as legal documents. “Such documents do not have much value,” he added.
Former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, in his bail application, pleaded to the court that the trial in the case has already started and there cannot be any fear of tampering of evidence or influencing witnesses by him
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) response on the bail plea of former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, arrested for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum case, reports PTI.
Issuing notice to CBI, justice Shali also asked the probe agency to file a status report by 1st December, the date on which the bail pleas of other five accused including DMK MP Kanimozhi are also slated for hearing.
Mr Behura approached the high court, through senior counsel Aman Lekhi, challenging denial of bail to him by the special CBI court which had refused him the relief saying the charges against him and other accused were of “very serious nature”.
Mr Behura, in his bail application, pleaded to the court that the trial in the case has already started and there cannot be any fear of tampering of evidence or influencing witnesses by him.
He also said the apex court earlier, while refusing bail to Ms Kanimozhi, had asked the accused to approach the court for bail after charges were framed in the case.
The trial court had dismissed Mr Behura's bail plea on 3rd November.
Mr Behura, along with former telecom minister A Raja and latter’s private secretary RK Chandolia, was arrested on 2nd February, this year.
Besides Mr Behura and Ms Kanimozhi, the four others who have moved the high court against the special court order denying them the bail are DMK-run Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd directors Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal and Bollywood producer Karim Morani.