uses JavaScript to provide the best possible experience for our content, but your browser has it disabled. Learn how to enable it here.


Posted August 03, 2023

Arsenic Poisoning in U.S. from Ayurvedic Supplements

A 75-year-old woman in California experienced arsenic poisoning after taking Ayurvedic supplements prescribed to her by a holistic energy healer, according to a report published in July in Clinical Case Reports. She had been taking supplements for years, but developed symptoms of arsenic poisoning six weeks after starting on ten Ayurvedic supplements daily. She stopped taking the supplements after two weeks but went to the hospital four weeks later due to experiencing fatigue and numbness in the hands and feet, which can be symptoms of arsenic poisoning. Tests showed nerve damage, decreased blood cell counts, and high blood levels of arsenic (140.6 μg/L, normal <50 μg/L) as well as lead (26.4 μg/dL, normal <10 μg/dL).

She had taken most of the supplements at the recommended daily dose of about two to six tablets per day but took 40 tablets daily of one of the supplements that was later tested and found to contain high amounts of arsenic.

All ten Ayurvedic supplements the woman had been taking were tested and found to be contaminated with arsenic, lead, and/or mercury. One supplement, Ashtang Herbals Smritisagar Ras, was labeled as containing the ingredient “shuddh hartal,” (which translates to “pure arsenic”) and was found to contain 16  mg arsenic and 6 mg of mercury per tablet. The woman had been taking 40 tablets per day of this supplement, containing a total of about 654 mg of arsenic per day. A second supplement by the same brand, Ashtang Herbals Brahmi Vati, was found to contain 0.9 mg of arsenic and almost 19 mg of mercury per tablet.

The amounts of heavy metals in the supplements are far higher than the strict limits applies of only 0.01 mg (10 mcg) of total arsenic and 0.002 mg (2 mcg) of mercury per daily serving of a supplement.

All ten products were shipped from India, but some Ashtang Herbals supplements appear to be sold on Amazon.

Four months after receiving treatment and stopping supplementation, arsenic was no longer detected in the woman’s blood, and her fatigue had improved; however, her blood levels of lead remained elevated, and she still had loss of sensation in her hands and feet. Her physicians noted that her elevated blood levels of lead may have contributed to her symptoms but appeared to be chronic in nature and “mild” compared to the blood levels of arsenic that were detected.

For more information, use the link below.

Severe arsenic poisoning due to Ayurvedic supplements

See related recalls and warnings:

51 CBD Products Recalled Due to Lead Contamination

Herb Recalled Due to Risk of Lead, Cadmium Contamination

"Herbal Laxative and "Detox" Kit Containing High Levels of Lead and/or Arsenic Recalled in Canada

Lead and Arsenic Found in Multi Mineral & Vitamin Supplement