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Posted February 5, 2015: by Bill Sardi
The recent exposé by the Office of the Attorney General (AG) of New York that herbal dietary supplements such as Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, Echinacea and garlic sold in large chain stores (examples: Target, GNC, Walgreen’s) contain nothing more than rice powder or ground up house plants is spurious. [New York Times Feb 3, 2015] A cease and desist order was issued and news outlets have widely spread this news almost without question. But the report appears to be more of a planned attack on the herbal supplement industry.
The AG’s report is based upon a specious study published in 2013 in BMC Medicine by researchers in Canada, so it is not news. [BMC Medicine 2013] Herbal testing was conducted by a new method called DNA barcoding which is not the accepted gold standard for testing dietary supplements. [Nutraingredients-USA.com]
The US Pharmacopoeia published standard or the Health Canada Standard (see an example for ginkgo biloba) should have been employed as the accepted test standard.
The chief science officer at the American Botanical Council said that the herbal extraction process may degrade DNA to the point where it is impossible to perform proper authentication. [Nutraingredients-USA.com Feb 4, 2015]
The American Botanical Council slammed the study at the time of its release in 2013 and called for its retraction. Obviously, the lot numbers of the products tested in 2013 are not likely on store shelves today so the applicability of this information to consumers is dubious. – Copyright 2015 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.