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Natural remedies not always safe remedies

15 August 2006

Natural remedies not always safe remedies

"Consumers need clear and accurate information on the effects and side effects of all medicines, especially alternative medicines" says David Russell of Consumers’ Institute. “They have the potential to do both good and harm.”

A recent survey of emergency patients conducted by Waikato University revealed that over one third of patients used some kind of alternative medicine and almost half of those were doing so on the advice of a friend.

There was also a high proportion who were self-medicating. An alarming 61 percent of those using alternative medicines didn’t realise that they could have any adverse side effects and most reported that they did not tell their doctor they were taking alternative medicines. “Just because it’s natural, it doesn’t mean that it’s not dangerous” says Russell.

“This industry does not have set quality and safety requirements, so it’s up to the individual consumer to question and research contraindications.”


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