Bulletin Board
Bulletin BoardAdulterated Herbal MedicinePurpose


Adulterated herbal medicines

Adulteration : the addition of an impure or inferior component not ordinarily part of that substance; or removal of a crucial entity; usually used to imply that a substance is debased (desecrated) as a result. [Miller LG, Hume A, Harris IM et al. Adulteration: its various meanings. Pharmacotherapy. 2001;21:770-1]

Adulterated herbal medicines :

  • herbal medicines which contain undeclared potent substances and/or are contaminated with potentially hazardous substances and residues
  • herbal medicines which contain intentionally added undeclared chemical substances which are not linked to the presence of naturally occurring substances associated with certain herbs of other ingredients of herbal medicines. [WHO guidelines on safety monitoring of herbal medicines in pharmacovigilance systems, 2004]

Necessity of adulterated herbal medicines information

  • Herbal medicines are likely to be neglected countries where herbal medicines are not in the mainstream of health care system.
  • Herbal medicines are considered to have less side effect, which may be of an adverse nature, but some herbal medicines cause them, mainly due to adulteration of herbal products.
  • There is less information regarding the safety and/or adverse events of herbal medicines.
  • Each member has their own adulterated herbal medicine reports and/or database but not fully shared among FHH members.

History of the report of the adulterated herbal medicines in FHH

  • 7th Standing Committee Meeting (26-27 November 2009)
    • Members agreed to conduct a trial run of reporting adulteration of herbal medicines for 1 year.
  • 8th Standing Committee Meeting (28-29 October 2010) & 9th Standing Committee Meeting (17-18 November 2011)
    • Reviewed the reporting system of adulterated herbal medicines.
    • Enhanced information exchange of adulteration cases amongst FHH members.
    • Established a reporting system as a regular basis.
  • Proposal for adulterated herbal medicines information on FHH website was suggested by NIFDS, Korea. (12 Mar 2015)
  • Database and online submission system for adulterated herbal medicines opened. (October 2018)

Purpose of adulterated herbal medicines information on FHH website

  • To advise FHH members about safety information regarding herbal medicines.
  • To provide suggestions for the safety monitoring of herbal medicines among FHH members.
  • To provide information related to potentially suspected adulterated herbal medicines.
  • To access easily on adulterated herbal medicines information among FHH members.