Monday, October 29, 2012

Dangerous herbal pills used to treat menopausal symptoms leave woman suffering liver failure

There may be something in this but on the available evidence one would have to render the old Scottish verdict of "not proven".  It must be noted that the vast majority of users are NOT harmed

Health watchdogs have warned of the potential danger of a herbal remedy used to  treat menopausal symptoms – after one woman became so ill that she needed a liver transplant.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is concerned about products containing black cohosh, a native American plant.

It is understood the woman, who has not been named, developed liver failure after starting to use it.  It has not been confirmed how much she consumed before becoming ill.

Black cohosh is the second most popular herbal ingredient in the UK and is used to treat symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, poor sleep, mood changes and irritability.

It is also often recommended as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy – and is available in capsules in most high street chemists, health food shops and supermarkets.

Richard Woodfield, the MHRA’s head of herbal policy, said: ‘It is important people with a history of liver problems do not use black cohosh herbal products.’

The latest case reported to the regulator is suspected to be directly linked to the woman using a product containing the herbal remedy and an investigation is ongoing.

The MHRA said it had received a total of 53 reports of adverse reactions suspected to be associated with the use of black cohosh products – the majority involving liver problems.

Black cohosh is registered as a herbal medicine with the MHRA under its Traditional Herbal Registration scheme, which was introduced last year to impose more stringent controls. But in some cases, the MHRA has found it being sold as a food supplement at more than 50 times the recommended dose.


Kansas Students Stage School Lunch Boycott to Protest Federal Lunchroom Nutrition Law‏

After students have been saying “we are hungry” due to new nutrition guidelines for school lunches that limit calories and increase fruits and vegetables, a group in Abilene, Kan. participated in a three-day protest against it.

The Salina Journal reports students at Abilene Senior High School against the calorie limitations in the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, which was signed into law by the president, refused to buy school lunches, thinking it would have financial impacts that would speak louder than words.  “The biggest way to get into someone’s head is to mess with their pockets,” freshman Gehrig Geissinger said, according to the Journal.

Here’s more from the Journal on student’s thoughts regarding the lunch program protest:

    "Participating in the protest was no big deal for senior Kae Brown, 17. Kae, who sat in the hallway nursing a soft drink during lunch period, said she usually doesn’t buy cafeteria meals but understands the motivation behind the protest.  “People complained there wasn’t enough food before, so I can see why they throw a fit now,” she said.

    [World History teacher Wendy] Sherbert said she’s proud of her students for peacefully protesting something they strongly disagree with.

    “They’ve been very respectful and quiet,” she said. “This is not about food, but about control, and what role the government plays — if the government should be a substitute for parents teaching their own children.”   “Most people have been supportive of what we’re doing,” Sherbert said."

It was a recent lesson taught by Sherbert on peaceful protests that inspired the students to take action with this cause.

Even workers in the lunch room aren’t necessarily in agreement with the new regulations. The Journal reported food server Kari Beetch saying that although they’re doing what they’re told, she believes “the amount of food served should be based on the individual. Every kid needs different calories.”

Although nutrition requirements and calorie limitations have been in the spotlight from the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act lately, the act also has provisions that provide breakfasts for students who need it and also dinners and meals over summer vacation. The dinners earlier this month were featured by NBC’s Nightly News.

It may seem ironic given the complaints surrounding the lunch program’s calorie limitations supposedly leaving students hungry, NBC reported in its clip that studies show students perform better when they’re well fed as reason for supporting the federally subsidized dinners.


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