This section provides information about current safety issues associated with herbal medicines.
- Advice to manufacturers, suppliers and practitioners of herbal medicine
It would be helpful if you could note information about each safety issue and follow any advice or requests which are made to protect public safety.
- Advice to consumers
On any issue where no specific advice is given to consumers please follow this general advice if you are currently taking the product:
- you are advised to discontinue use and consult your pharmacist or doctor
- when speaking to your doctor of pharmacist you may find it helpful to take a copy of this MHRA advice about the product with you
- you should continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor.
In 2008 the Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee, (the body that provides independent expert advice to the Government on herbal medicines) asked the MHRA to make available an updated summary document: Public Health Risk with Herbal Medicines: an Overview (782Kb) (July 2008). The aim of doing this is to promote wider understanding of herbal safety issues.
Latest herbal safety updates
07 May 2014 | Warning about Ayurvedic herbal medicine for treatment of asthmatic symptoms containing undeclared pharmaceuticals
MHRA is advising consumers not to use Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine Shwasa Sanjeevani as it has been found to contain dexamethasone, a prescription only medicine which has not been declared on the packaging.
MHRA is advising consumers not to use specific slimming pills as these products have been found by regulators in other countries to contain prescription only drug ingredients that are not declared on the product labels.
07 May 2014 | Warnings about unlicensed traditional Chinese medicines containing undeclared pharmaceuticals and heavy metals
The MHRA is advising consumers not to use the following traditional Chinese medicines as there are concerns about possible side effects. These products are not authorised for sale in the UK and have not been found on the UK marketplace, but they could be available on the internet.
The MHRA has recently been made aware of several unlicensed herbal products which have been found to contain heavy metals.
The MHRA has recently become aware that an unlicensed herbal product, Zheng tian wan, containing Aconite, a prescription only medicine, is being marketed and prescribed by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners for the treatment migraine.