Thinking of ayurvedic medication? Think again. Doctors in the city warn that ayurvedic medicines may contain high levels of toxic metals, which could lead to poisoning, besides leading to side effects like depression, memory loss, loss of sensation and renal failure.
Various city nephrologists, neurologists and endocrinologists come across cases where patients opt for ayurvedic medication, and it worsens their condition.
Experts feel most people assume that ayurvedic medicines do not have side effects.
Dr Shashank Joshi, endocrinologist, Bhatia Hospital, said, “Some of the ayurvedic medicines, which are scientifically proven, are good to prevent diseases like diabetes, but not to cure ailments. Most of the time, people go by advertisements and buy medicines, instead of going to qualified ayurvedic doctors. I come across cases were patients taking ayurvedic medicines face major health problems. There are a lot of ayurvedic products selling in the market which are not scientifically proven.”
Dr Nirmal Surya, a neurologist at Bombay Hospital, said, “One patient, who was well educated, came to me with complaints of depression and memory loss. This patient had a habit of using ayurvedic medicines. We sent his blood sample to the Indian Institute of Environmental Medicine, which detected abnormal levels of lead, copper, gold, arsenic and mercury in it. The mercury present probably caused the depression and memory loss.”
He added that many people randomly take ayurvedic medicines as a supplementary or to increase their appetite.
“I have seen many cases of renal failure due to ayurvedic medicines. Heavy metals get deposited on kidneys, leading to chronic kidney failure cases,” said Dr Jatin Kothari, nephorologist at Hinduja Hospital.
However, Dr KR Kohli, director, Directorate of Ayurveda, said, “It is complete wrong to say the ayurvedic medicines contain heavy metals. Allopathic doctors are saying such things due to professional jealousy. First, 90% herbal medicines don’t have any kind of metal, and the remaining 10% get refined in the making process. There is a lot of research done at different levels to prove that the medicine is safe. People should buy only scientifically prepared drugs approved by the Food and Drugs Administration, and take them under medical supervision.”