Herbal rescue for 9/11 workers
More than six years after 9/11, many rescue workers and New York financial district residents are still suffering from respiratory problems, chronic fatigue and depression related to the attacks. But help may be on the way in the form of ancient Indian medicine. A recent study found that Ayurvedic herbal supplements may offer more relief than conventional medicine for some of these people. Fifty people suffering from 9/11-related health issues that had not been alleviated by conventional treatments were given four different Ayurvedic formulas twice daily for a minimum of six months. Each formula targeted a specific concern, including respiratory health, brain and nervous-system problems, anxiety and depression. All 50 respondents reported high levels of symptom alleviation. (Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2008.)
The U.S. Pharmacopoeia should think twice about requiring cautionary labeling statements for black cohosh and powdered decaffeinated green tea extract, according to American Herbal Products Association officials. In a letter sent in January to the USP, AHPA questioned why the agency chose labeling as the only criteria for communicating the different supplement safety levels. The USP's current classification system is three-tiered: Class 1 (safe with no labeling statement), Class 2 (safe only with a suitable labeling system), or Class 3 (not safe irrespective of label statements). AHPA would like to see other methods for disseminating safety information to consumers. It suggests a new safety section be included in the USP's supplements monographs so that manufacturers can bear the responsibility of producing safe consumer products.
Women's use of supplements waning
Women may be using dietary supplements less frequently, according to a recent survey of 1,000 consumers by Shelton, Conn.-based market research and consultancy firm TABS Group. Of the women polled, 66 percent reported using supplements, a 13 percent drop from the last TABS survey in 2005. But the decline in usage was isolated to women age 30 to 59. The number of men using supplements held steady. The reduction coincides with fewer manufacturers' marketing campaigns geared toward women, according to TABS President Kurt Jetta. "These results present compelling evidence that there is a significant category-wide cost to the reduction of this [marketing] support," he said in a statement.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 3/p. 102