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Study Claims Colchicine Contamination of Herbal Products

KEY POINT

A study recently published in the chemistry literature reports finding high concentrations of colchicine in placental blood. Looking for a source of the alkaloid, researchers reported they found colchicine in herbal products, including ginkgo biloba and echinacea, in Detroit-area stores. However, the study and its results have been strongly challenged by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), which noted that the serum concentrations reported in the paper are above lethal serum levels of colchicine.

SOURCES

Petty HR et al. Identification of colchicine in placental blood from patients using herbal medicines. Chem Res Toxicol ASAP [journal online].

Flawed study on ginkgo discredited by CRN [news release]. Washington, DC: Council for Responsible Nutrition; August 2001.

Letter from JH Cardellina II, Council for Responsible Nutrition, to Madelaine Jacobs, Editor in Chief, Chemical and Engineering News. August 14, 2001.