(Austin, TX) March23, 2009. On Friday, March 12 ABCNews.com’s Health section published a story on the controversy surrounding detoxification now brewing in the United Kingdom. The American Botanical Council’s Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal is extensively quoted in the article.
The controversy is related to the launch of a new line of herbal products by Duchy Originals, a company that promotes organic and sustainable food production, founded by the Prince of Wales in 1990.1,2 The new herb line, Duchy Herbals, was launched in January 2009.2 So far Duchy Herbals includes an Echinacea-relief tincture (containing the root of Echinacea purpurea), a Hyperi-lift tincture (containing St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum), and a Detox tincture containing artichoke (Cynara scolymus) leaf and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root.
The ABC News article was stimulated by an article in the UK containing criticism by Prof. Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, a widely-cited author of clinical trials and systematic reviews on complementary and alternative medicine modalities, of a detox product.
For the sake of perspective, it is constructive to know that the Echinacea-relief and Hyperi-lift tinctures are the first herbal tinctures produced in the United Kingdom to be registered under the Traditional Herbal Products Directive (THMPD), a recent regulation applying to all European states.2 The THMPD allows herbal products to be registered under medicines law. To earn a license a company must submit a complete file to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) containing extensive evidence of a product’s traditional use, safety, and quality.
However, the detox tincture requires no such licensing from MHRA because it is classified as a food supplement. The “detox” product is intended to aid people in the removal of toxins from their bodies.
ABC News interviewed Blumenthal on the subject of detoxification and related issues. Blumenthal neither endorsed nor criticized the Prince’s product or the apparently increased consumer interest in the practice of detoxification, but he did attempt to put the matter into a historical and cultural perspective. Roberta Lee, MD, Medical Director at the Continuum Center for Health and Healing in New York City and a member of ABC’s Board of Trustees, was also quoted.
The article quotes Blumenthal and Dr. Lee as follows:
Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the Austin, Texas-based herbal medicine think-tank American Botanical Council, said that part of the thrust behind the detox movement is the idea that the food supply and environment of today expose people to higher levels of chemicals and pollutants than in the past. "Many people—rationally or irrationally, correctly or not—believe strongly that they must detoxify their bodies to give themselves that extra edge to get rid of [these chemicals]," he said. "There is probably a healthy and rational basis for some of this, though some people take it a bit too far." And Dr. Roberta Lee, vice chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, said detoxification as a concept may be getting an undeservedly bad rap."Detoxification is a natural process that occurs in the body, though it is not labeled as such in the medical profession," she said. "The idea that detox is a silly notion, I think, is a fallacy."
Blumenthal and Lee were further quoted in the article which can be accessed in full here.
1 Childs D. Prince Charles’ herbal products stir controversy. ABCNews.com. March 13, 2009. Available at http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WellnessNews/story?id=7071267&page=1. Accessed March 16, 2009. 2 Duchy Originals encourages consumers to adopt an integrated approach to healthcare with launch of duchy herbals [press release]. East Twickenham, London, England: Duchy Originals. January 22, 2009.