Ayurvedic medicine originated in India some thousands of years ago, and relies heavily on herbal remedies. The Ayurveda is a collection of medical information in which disease is believed to be the consequence of an imbalance of the three elements vatta, pitta, and kapha. Vatta maintains the body's integrity and the proper functioning of its constituent elements. Pitta is the primary constituent having the functions of vision, digestion heat production, hunger, thirst, body softness and suppleness, cheerfulness, and intelligence, while kapha organizes the tissues into their macro- and microscopic forms. Imbalances of any one or a combination of these elements causes sickness and the need for specific herbs to restore balance.
Given that lead, mercury, and arsenic intoxication have been associated with the use of ayurvedic supplements, researchers at Harvard and Boston Universities investigated and reported on the prevalence and concentration of heavy metals in ayurvedic products available in Boston. After a systematic search to identify all stores selling these products, they revisited the stores and purchased all ayurvedic products. They found that 14 of 70 products, 1 in 5, contained mercury at levels ranging from 28,000 to 104,000 micorgrams (^g) per gram (g); lead, 5000-37,000 ^g/g; and arsenic, 37-8130 ^g/g. If taken as label directions recommended, each of the 14 could result in heavy-metal toxicity. The authors of the study say that testing of ayurvedic products for toxic heavy metals should be mandatory .
In another account, the National Centers for Disease Control reported 21 cases of lead poisoning in five states among adults who used ayurvedic supplements for rheumatoid arthritis, infertility (men and women), menstrual health, and diabetes. All were seen in hospital emergency rooms with fatigue, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain. The ayurvedic remedies they were taking had lead levels of 12,000-78,000 parts per million (ppm). They note, too, that lead levels in many of these supplements ranged from 0.4 to 260,000 parts per million  ,
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