Regulation and safety of Herbal Products

Today there is an increase in popularity of herbal products, and studies reveal that overall sales of herbal medicinal products are highly on the rise. There is a lot of research that is being carried out for finding new indications about herbal products. However, along with good quality herbal products, there could also be poor quality products, which could put the common man in confusion regarding the quality of the product.

While internet has provided a medium through which herbal products all over the world are marketed and sold, it is becoming increasingly difficult to regulate the quality of the products. While majority of herbal products meet consistent high quality, certain percentage of herbal products are not being investigated for their safety, quality and efficacy.  One such example is the case of an herbal medicinal product called Kava. This herbal product was withdrawn by the UK herbal sector after observing serious liver damage in Switzerland and Germany by use of this product. Hence there is a need for regulating herbal medicinal products and the following basic conditions needs to be fulfilled for registering an herbal product.

  • The product should be an herbal product.
  • The herbal product must show a specific use for diagnostic purposes or for prescription.
  • The way of administering the product should be external or oral or inhalation
  • The administration of the herbal product should be limited to a particular strength.
  • The product should have elapsed the period for traditional use.
  • The herbal product should show sufficient evidence for safe use of the product for thirty years.

People under medication for various health conditions should consume herbal medicinal products only on consultation with the doctor. In case one is going ahead for a surgery, the doctor should be kept informed regarding use of any herbal products, as they may interfere with anesthesia or bleeding. The doctor usually recommends stopping use of herbal products fifteen days prior to surgery.