Fake herbal drug could have serious side effects: GAHS

ABU DHABI — Health authorities have warned people that a fake Asian herbal drug that stimulates appetite and is being sold at body building centres in the country causes osteoporosis, kidney failure, hypertension and cancer.

By Nada S. Mussallam

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Published: Sun 11 Feb 2007, 9:10 AM

Last updated: Fri 21 Oct 2022, 10:47 AM

“The Chinese drug called ‘ginseng kianpi’, a fake herbal pill for gaining weight has been smuggled into the local market and has been widely used by youths,” Dr Mohammed Abu Al Khair, Director of the Drugs Department at the General Authority for Health Services (GAHS) for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi told Khaleej Times.

He said the authority was alerted about the medicine when it was tipped off that the drug is being sold at a body building centre in Dubai, noting the medicine is also found in herbal shops.

“We have contacted the Ministry of Health (MoH) and other health authorities concerned in the country to make sure the drug is confiscated and destroyed,” said Dr Khair.

He said that ginseng kianpi was banned in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for containing steroids known to increase weight but has serious side-effects like osteoporosis, kidney failure and hypertension.

“What is more dangerous is that it has been proven the drug contains a substance called b-asarone which is a carcinogenic (causes cancer) and is banned internationally,” warned Dr Khair.

He cautioned people, especially youth, that herbal medicines could have adverse side effects when consumed randomly and without medical supervision.

“People should not believe all claims of herbal medicine sellers. Vitamins and other products used for weight gain or loss that have rapid results often contain dangerous ingredients,” cautioned the expert.

He urged people to contact the Poison and Drug Information Centre (P&DIC) to get information about any medicine, especially if they doubted its efficacy or observe abnormal side effects.

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