A review paper published this week in the Journal of the New Zealand Dietetic Association questions the widespread use of herbal dietary supplements.
A recent survey found that almost one in every three people had consumed dietary supplements (other than vitamins and minerals) over the previous year.
"There is a widespread assumption that herbal remedies are natural, so they must be safe. This argument has been used to justify the fact that there is a lack of clinical data on the safety and effectiveness of many supplements," says author of the review paper, Amanda Wynne.
People need to be aware that there may be risks associated with taking herbal preparations, particularly for those with underlying medical conditions or those who are taking prescription drugs.