"Natural" does not mean "safe" or "benign"
- 25% of drugs come from plant sources (natural sources)
Opium Poppy is a natural source used to extract opium refined to morphine and codeine (common opioids)
- ￼Many natural products (herbs) are dangerous.
- The body can not tell the difference between a "natural" chemical and a "synthetic" chemical.
"Safe" and "Effective"
- Natural products do not require proof that they are safe or effective.
- In contrast, drugs must be proven safe and effective through rigorous testing before they can be marketed.
"Detoxify your body"
- No evidence exists about toxins building up in the body or a need to cleanse or detoxify.
- No proof that natural products can "cleanse" or "detoxify" the body.
Contents of the Product
- Examine the label of the product carefully.
- In Canada, the Natural Health Products Regulations began in 2004 which requires a product licence to be sold (companies are in the process of obtaining licences). This ensures sound manufacturing processes, listing of medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients, source and potency.
- Ensure the product lists a DIN, NPN or DIN-HM number which means the product has been reviewed and approved by Health Canada.
- Products without these number designations have no assurance that they are a quality, safe or effective product.
- These products may have varying amounts of ingredients that do not need to be listed on the label. They may be adulterated with toxic substances (heavy metals) or prescription drugs. A big unknown!
- If you are considering a product from a naturopath, homeopath or Natural health product centre ask the individual what education they have had in this field.
Few natural products have undergone unbiased scientific trials
- The dose and dosage form needed for safety and effectiveness is largely unknown.
- Long term effects are unknown.
- Generally no information used in patients with kidney or liver disease or other disease states.
- Limited or no information on their use in children, pregnancy or lactation.
- Limited or no information on what effects they have when taken with medications (non-prescription and prescription).
*** IF YOU ARE TAKING A NATURAL PRODUCT it is very important to mention it to your health care professional (doctor, pharmacist, nurse) ***
Janice Sumpton RPh., BScPhm. February 7, 2010