UAE Warns About Herbal Products

The health ministry has said that many herbal products may contain harmful drugs and are also packed in unhealthy conditions.

Consumers in the UAE should be cautious about the herbal products they use as some of these products are manufactured or packed in unqualified places with unhealthy devices, the UAE’s health ministry has warned.

The ministry’s drugs control department issued a report stating that these products may also contain harmful chemical substances, reports official news agency WAM.

“The drugs control laboratory in the Ministry of Health checked a sample of turmeric powder, which is used by some individuals for the treatment of knee and back pain, brought from Asian countries and traded spontaneously,” said Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for Medical Practices and Licensing at the health ministry.

“The laboratory discovered that the fraudulent product contains piroxicam and paracetamol, as well as other unknown substances that are harmful to the human health,” he said.

Drugs such as piroxicam can lead to myocardial infarction, strokes and high blood pressure, he said.

“Patients who suffer from asthma or allergic to aspirin should not use this kind of medicine. Additionally, products containing piroxicam should not be used as a painkiller for patients who have had coronary arteries transplants,” Al Amiri said.

Some herbal products also come with undeclared packaging materials, and hence could interfere with drugs being used to treat other diseases. Many products also do not come with validity dates, and are packed under uncontrolled humid conditions that can convert them into toxic and harmful materials, said the report.

“Such medicines must not be traded or distributed without unauthorized medical prescriptions,” Al Amiri said.

The report follows a warning issued by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) late last month asking consumers to be careful when buying slimming products after it found that 15 weight loss products tested contained adulterated substances like Sibutramine and Alvenulfthalin.

“Many consumers have a wrong perception that any product marketed as herbal is safe, but, in many cases, we have gathered and tested these products and found them to contain undefined chemicals or unknown drug concentration leading to a risk to the health of the user,” Dr. Ali Obaid Al Ali, director of Health Regulation, said at the time.