Are Chinese herbs safe?
Yes, Chinese herbs are safe. Like most exported products from China, exported products have a higher quality than domestic products. The herbs are also tested for toxicity and quality control purposes when they arrive into the UK and Europe.
Practitioners and herbalists use a yellow card system to alert the HMAC of any problems with a possible herb. Reseachers are actively looking at herbs and their reactions in humans and with other substances.
How are herbs checked to see if they are safe?
The MHRA has put in place the Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee (HMAC). This new body has the same ranking as the Committee of the Safety of Medicines. If any question concerning herbal safety arises, HMAC will determine whether dry herbs are safe or not, based on current evidence. The HMAC committee is made up of people from Ayurveda, TCM, Western herbal medicine and pharmacologists.
How the media makes out herbs are not safe
You might have read or heard bad things about the safety of Chinese herbs in the media. For example, steroids being added to Chinese herbal pills or people suffering kidney and liver failure.
In China, medicine has been unified for over 60 years ago, so both western pharmaceuticals and Chinese herbs are used together for fast and effective treatments. Unfortunately, some of these pills were shipped to western countries where the medicine practiced there is not unified, causing problems and bad press.
Some years ago, a group of Belgium western medicine doctors were using Chinese herbs without training to help their patients loose weight. Because they weren't qualified herbalists, they used the wrong herb, which caused their patients to suffer kidney and organ failure, some even died. This is why herbal medicine should be regulated but yet still isn't.