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March 8, 2001

Health Canada Warns of Toxic Ingredients in Two Herbal Products for Children

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 identified.

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 relevant associations.

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