Herbal Supplement Gingko May Not Be as Safe as Previously Believed February 14, 2010.
With so many product recalls these days, one has to wonder what is safe anymore.
"In terms of dealing with dangerous products, drugs and herbals have long been at the top of the list across the country when it came to lawsuits. The general public has a right to be safe and protected from goods that may harm them," indicated dangerous product attorney Christopher Mellino.
Nine times out of ten, people consider herbal drugs to be safe and don’t hesitate to take them, even if the herbal drugs aren’t compatible with conventional drugs. This causes concern among medical professionals.
Now it seems that one of the most highly visible and trusty standbys of the herbal world, gingko biloba, may have the potential to harm people. "Evidently a recent report in Journal of American Medical Association outlined that this herb does not really help anyone’s memory or even slow down the rate of cognitive decay in older, but still healthy people," Mellino outlined.
While the test was a double blind, randomized test with over 3,000 patients, the end result was easily summed up in one sentence – there was no difference between Gingko and the placebo. "Needless to say this puts a huge crimp in the advertising for this product and calls into question how it was marketed as a brain enhancer in the first place," said Mellino.
This herb is one of the biggest sellers in the world largely because people think it does boost the memory and sharpens the concentration. "While the research shows it doesn’t do what the marketing companies say it does, it also shows that Gingko may harm people. This is where the very real possibility of a dangerous product lawsuit may come into play," Mellino explained.
The Journal of Natural Products is saying that restrictions need to be put on Gingko’s use because there is a rapidly growing body of evidence that shows it may actually increase the risk of seizures for epileptics and may even reduce the effectiveness of anti-seizure drugs.
"It appears that an element of Gingko, something called Gingko toxin, may act to alter a chemical signaling pathway in the brain, triggering seizures. If it does indeed reduce the effectiveness of seizure medications, this will have serious ramifications for patients with epilepsy," commented Mellino.
Interestingly enough, herbal remedies and supplements aren’t marketed as drugs because they haven’t been scientifically tested to be safe or effective, nor have they been used in clinical trials. However, the herbal industry is large enough to boast of being a multi-billion dollar success. "They have made sure their products are not FDA regulated. Put another way, the FDA can only run interference after someone has been injured or dies as a result of using herbs. Does anyone remember the ephedra fiasco that claimed the lives of over 100 people?" questioned Mellino.
Pharmaceutical or "natural" drugs may have dangerous and unintended side effects. However, things get even worse when people are harmed or killed by an herb that was never proven to work or shown to be safe at the outset. In instances like this, it’s best to speak to a skilful personal injury attorney who will do a walk-through of how a dangerous product lawsuit is filed and assess the facts of the case presented to them. Beware of what the labels on bottles of herbal drugs don’t say.