March 8, 2001
Health Canada Warns of Toxic Ingredients in Two Herbal Products
Ottawa, Canada (SafetyAlerts) - Health Canada is
warning consumers not to use Bao Ji Wan Pills or Chinese Modular Solutions Chest Relief
Tablets. These two herbal products are indicated for use in children and labelled to
contain the ingredients Tricosanthes kirilowii and Magnolia officinalis
bark. These ingredients are considered highly toxic and pose a serious health hazard,
particularly to children.
The herb Tricosanthes kirilowii contains
tricosanthin alkaloid, which is known to cause mutations in human cells and malformations
in embryos, suppress the immune system, and produce severe allergic reactions. The safe
and effective dose of this herb is not known.
Magnolia officinalis bark contains
turbocurarine and related substances which are known to cause respiratory paralysis in
animals and may be toxic to infants and small children, even when used as directed.
Both Bao Ji Wan Pills and Chinese Modular
Solutions Chest Relief Tablets have been assessed by Health Canada and found to pose a
Type I health hazard, which means there is a reasonable probability that the use of or
exposure to the product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.
To date, no incidents of adverse or toxic
reactions to these products have been reported in Canada. Products found on the Canadian
market that contain these ingredients will be assessed by Health Canada as they are
Bao Ji Wan (Pill), 74 grams, is manufactured in
Guang Zou, China. It should be noted that Bao Ji Wan Pills resemble another product which
has the same name in Chinese characters, but is manufactured in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong
product has been approved by Health Canada for sale in Canada. The best way to
differentiate these two products is to check the label for the country of origin.
The product, Chinese Modular Solutions Chest
Relief Tablets, is promoted for use in children and is labelled to contain Tricosanthes
kirilowii seed and several other ingredients whose compounded effects and high
concentrations can be toxic to children. This product is manufactured by Kan Herb Company,
60001 Butler Lane, Scotts Valley, California, 95066.
This warning will be distributed to the Chinese
Chamber of Herbal Medicines of Canada, associations of Chinese importers and Ayurvedic
medicine, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Pharmacists Association of
Canada, Provincial and Territorial Ministries of Health, Poison Control Centres and other
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