Some herbs found in food may be dangerous

By TNT Bureau

Oct 25, 2017: Imagine that you are eating your regular cereal in the morning and get an allergic reaction. You try to find a fault in the ingredients and read the label. But when you look at the package labeling there are no ingredients that seem to be at fault.

This is all because of an FDA loophole?food makers have been allowed to use additives and chemicals that they feel are safe.

Similarly, there are many herbs that are allowed to use in food, which, studies have proved to be harmful to health.

Herbs used in food

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant theobromine have been allowed to use in chewing gum, tea, beverages, soy milk, gelatin, yogurt, fruit smoothies, but this ingredient is not mentioned in the food labels.

The peanut-related legume sweet lupin has been allowed to be used in baked goods, gelatin, meats, dairy products and candy, again with no mention on the label.

The chemical epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is used in tea, beverages, sport drinks, etc. This ingredient is also not mentioned in the label. According to studies, this ingredient has been linked to leukemia.

For many years, ingredients like vinegar, vegetable oil or sugar were allowed to be used in food as part of the FDA?s Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) program. Food companies could use these without proving them safe.

But since late 1990s, under the GRAS program, food makers have been allowed to use additives and chemicals by just declaring them safe.

Recently, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) exposed that under GRAS, 1,000 additives have been self-declared ?safe? by food companies. Many of these food makers like Hanzhong TRG Biotech and NutraMax, are based in China. And China is poor in consumer safety record, as according to reports in the US, many food products have been rejected because of ?pesticides, bacteria and filth.? In 2007, tainted pet food from China killed many US dogs and cats.

Here are some herbs that may be in your food or beverages without being mentioned on the label, and which may prove harmful.

Fo Ti (Shou Wu Pian/ Ho Shou Wu)

Fo Ti made from the tuber of the climbing knotweed (Polygonum multiflorum) is a popular Asian remedy for cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, etc. It is used as a tonic for liver, kidney, muscles and bones related problems. But, according to the National Institutes of Health,  it has been proved that this herb leads to liver injury, leading to viral hepatitis, jaundice, etc.

Kava Kava

Kava is a plant that is found in western Pacific. It is a popular supplement in the US, used for treating depression, anxiety, insomnia, stress, etc.

In 2002, FDA warned consumers about the potential risk of liver ailments from kava kava like hepatitis, liver failure, etc. Kava kava has been linked to hepatic toxicity.


Lobelia is a flowering plant that grows in tropical and warm climates, used as herbal remedies. It is used for respiratory problems. Studies have shown that some properties of lobelia cause nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

Hydroxyzine HCL

This is an ingredient found in Vistaril and Atarax, two drugs used to treat anxiety, allergies and to control nausea and vomiting. Again studies have shown that hydroxyzine may impair thinking and reaction time. It is also dangerous when used with alcohol.


Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is used for healing injured tissues and wounds, sprains, bone fractures, etc. However, Comfrey is linked with the risk of severe liver and lung damage. In 2001, FDA recommended that comfrey products should be removed from the market. But comfrey is still easy to find. They are still found in tea.


Chaparral (Larrea divaricata, Larrea tridentata) is used for reducing pain, inflammation, and skin irritation. However, chaparral has been listed in FDA’s poisonous plant database since 1997 because of the risk of severe liver damage.

None of the facts and figures mentioned in the story have been created by is not responsible for any factual errors.

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