Daily News Archive

Japanese Study Finds Pesticides in Herbal Remedies
(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2004)
Synthetic pyrethroid compounds were found in 31 samples of five medicinal herbs, according to Japan's leading newspaper, The Asahi Shimbun (a subsidiary of The Herald Tribune). Almost 50 percent of tested samples detected DDT.

The study, conducted by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, found residual agricultural chemicals in nearly half of the 121 samples from 11 types of herbs used in herbal medicines, including the banned pesticide DDT, according to the August 23 article. The samples, tested for synthetic pyrethroids and organochlorines, were mostly herbs from leafy plants and fruits, which would be more likely to maintain pesticide residues.

The government study was done in response to a report published in June of last year by the National Confederation of Farmers’ Movement on farm chemicals being used on traditional herbal plants. Currently, regulations for DDT set at .2 parts per million (ppm) cover only five types of herbal medicines. Acceptable level regulations for chemical residues are now being considered by the Ministry for herbal plants used for medicinal remedies.

Herbal remedies offer an important homeopathic alternative to Western medicine. But the herbs may contain pesticides. The only way to be sure that your herbal remedy does not contain pesticides is to buy certified organic herbs. Ask for the organic herbs you are looking for at your local store or do a quick search for "organic herbs" on Google to find organic sellers. Knowing how to read the label of an herbal product can also help.