Herbal remedies lack safety warnings

Some herbal remedies still lack clear safety information on side-effects despite new EU rules earlier this year that they should carry warnings. New research shows that even products that fall under these new rules are available online and in shops without the safety information, and old stock is still on sale.

The study looked for information on precautions (such as Asian ginseng not being suitable for people with diabetes), interactions with conventional medicines (such as St John's wort not to be used with the contraceptive pill and warfarin) and any side-effects (such as ginkgo leading to possible allergic reactions).

Writing in BMC Medicine, the researchers led by David K Raynor, of the University of Leeds, said that 75 per cent of the products examined contained none of the key safety messages.