Herbal Medicines: Natural Not Always Beneficial To Health
Following the meeting of an expert group in February, 2002, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) just published its evaluation of the carcinogenic risks for humans of some herbal plants and emphasizes that "natural" is not necessarily synonymous with healthy.
Traditional herbal medicines encompass an extremely diverse group of preparations. In recent years, such products have become more widely available commercially, especially in developed countries, where mixtures prepared from leaves, roots, and other parts of exotic plants are imported from various sources and sold for medicinal purposes. These herbal products are marketed for uses, for example weight loss regimens, that were never contemplated in the traditional healing systems from which they emerged.