Women's health * Men's health * Weight loss

Warning about herbal weight loss product

Warning about herbal weight loss product Widely available product causes severe side effects

Regulators are warning dieters to avoid a herbal weight loss product, due to concerns over its side effects.

The product, called Herbal Flos Lonicerae (Herbal Xenicol) Natural Weight Loss Formula, is widely available on the internet and in traditional Chinese medicine shops in the UK.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said anyone using the product should stop taking it and consult a doctor immediately.

The warning was issued after the Agency was notified by a doctor whose patient was hospitalised. Several people taking the product experienced side effects, including palpitations, severe gastritis and abdominal pain, and insomnia.

The product is believed to contain an undeclared pharmaceutical substance and is currently being tested in a laboratory.

Richard Woodfield, MHRA Head of Herbal Medicines Policy, said: "Since 2005, the MHRA has found over 280 examples where so-called ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’ products have been adulterated with random quantities of powerful pharmaceutical substances. Such products pose a real risk to the public.

"It is situations such as this one that the Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) scheme is being introduced and why EU legislation has been changed in order to regulate herbal medicines.

"People have a right to know that what they are putting into their bodies to treat one condition will not directly cause a possibly more severe one simply as a result of very poor practice in parts of the sector.

"The THR scheme will make it possible to give people clear advice on which herbal products are safe to use, and provide an assurance that they were made in adequate conditions, and to the necessary standard."

This article was published on Thu 3 February 2011

Image © Glenn Jenkinson - Fotolia.com

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