Health Canada warns consumers against lead in Ayurvedic product

An Ayurvedic medicinal product used to activate the pancreas contains dangerous levels of lead and should be avoided, Health Canada warned today.

Jambrulin is manufactured by Unjha Pharmacy in India and comes in tablet form. It is not authorized for sale in Canada, but can be purchased on the internet or may be brought into the country by travellers for personal use.

Ayurvedic medicinal products are often imported from India, where they are used in traditional Indian healing. Practitioners and adherents believe the metals in the products carry therapeutic value.

But Western scientists say heavy metals generally pose a health risk because they accumulate in vital organs. Infants, children and pregnant women are most susceptible to heavy metal poisoning.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, anemia, changes in blood pressure, negative reproductive effects, weakness, concentration problems, weight loss, insomnia, dizziness, kidney and brain damage, and can lead to death.

The Health Canada advisory suggested that consumers who have used Jambrulin and are concerned consult a health professional for advice. They may also want to consult their local poison control centre.

Alternative, non-prescription health products that have been assessed by Health Canada for safety will bear an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Homeopathic Drug Number (DIN-HM).

In June 2006 and March 2005, Health Canada issued general health advisories with regard to Ayurvedic medicines and associated heavy metal toxicity. In July 2005, the department issued a specific public warning against these products.

Advisory notice