Herbal supplements have grown in popularity over the past few years as people turn to natural remedies hoping to lose weight, reduce arthritis symptoms, relieve depression or treat a range of other health conditions. But recent studies and a Congressional investigation have shown that such products can contain trace amounts of lead and other contaminants, or may cause dangerous side effects when mixed with certain medications.
To answer questions about contaminants or potentially harmful side effects of herbal remedies, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health is hosting a Facebook chat about the science and safety of herbal supplements. The chat will be held on Thursday at 12 noon Pacific Time.
Joining the conversation will be Craig Hopp, PhD, a program officer at NCCAM involved in ensuring products are safely and properly characterized, and John Williamson, PhD, who works with Hopp in overseeing the portfolio of grants relating to natural products and ethnomedicine. In addition to fielding questions, Hopp and Williamson will share information from agency's Herbs at a Glance series, which is now available for download as an eBook.