Health Canada Warns
Some Ayurvedic Medicinal Products Contain High
Levels of Heavy Metals
June 14, 2006
Health Canada is advising
consumers not to use four unapproved Ayurvedic
medicinal products from India because they contain
high levels of lead and/or mercury. Consumption
of excessive amounts of heavy metals, such as
lead and mercury, pose serious health risks because
they may accumulate in vital organs of the body.
Children are most susceptible to the toxic effects
of heavy metals.
The following Ayurvedic medicinal
products were found by Singapore's Health Science
Authority to contain high levels of lead and/or
- Annai Aravindh Herbals Rheuma-7
Capsules, produced by Annai Aravindh Herbals,
- Himalaya Diabecon Tablets, produced
by The Himalaya Drug Company, India;
- Laurel's Diabecs Capsules, produced
by Laurel Herbal Products, India; and
- Goodcare Diabet Guard Granules,
produced by Goodcare Pharma Pvt. Ltd, India.
Ayurvedic medicinal products are used in traditional
Indian healing practice and are often imported
from India. According to the principles of Ayurvedic
medicine, heavy metals may be used in a detoxified
state in these medicinal products because of their
reputed therapeutic properties. However, improper
manufacturing processes may result in dangerously
high levels of heavy metals in the final product.
The toxic effects of lead may cause
abdominal pain, anemia, changes in blood pressure,
reproductive effects, weakness, concentration
problems, weight loss, insomnia, dizziness, kidney
and brain damage, and ultimately death. The toxic
effects of mercury may cause irritability, tremors,
memory loss, insomnia, concentration problems,
and can permanently damage the brain and kidneys.
None of the Ayurvedic medicinal
products listed above are authorized for sale
in Canada, nor have they been identified on the
Canadian market. However, they may have been imported
into Canada by travellers and at least two of
these products are available for purchase over
Consumers should exercise caution
when purchasing health products from outside Canada
or over the Internet, as these products may not
have undergone the same degree of assessment as
those authorized for sale in Canada. Authorized
health products will either bear an eight-digit
Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Natural Product
Number (NPN), or a Homeopathic Drug Number (DIN-HM).
This authorization indicates that the product
has been assessed by Health Canada for safety,
efficacy and quality.
No adverse reactions associated
with these four products have been reported to
Health Canada. Consumers who have used any of
these products and who are concerned about their
health should contact a health care professional
for advice. For more information about lead or
mercury poisoning, contact the nearest poison
control centre. Their number should be in the
first pages of your local phone book.
Consumers who find any of these
products on the Canadian market are asked to please
contact the Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate
Consumers requiring more information
about this advisory can contact the Health Canada
public inquiries line at (613) 957-2991, or toll
free at 1-866-225-0709.