The quality of herbal supplements has been the subject of an ongoing investigation initiated earlier this month by the New York Attorney General’s office. However, the supplement industry has strongly questioned the DNA barcoding technology used by the AG's office and some even point to their compliance with USP monographs. This raises an important question - what does it mean to be in compliance with USP standards for dietary supplements?
Herbal products are often seen by consumers as safe because they derive from plants. However, lack of understanding of the plants and their interactions with prescription and over-the-counter medicines may contribute to some herbal products' inefficacy and some might even cause serious reactions, as Gabriel Goancaspro, Ph.D. explains.
Before the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) defined dietary supplements as a sub-set of foods, questions about how they would be regulated created heated discussion in the US market.