Alternative medicines

Which supplements should you take and which should you avoid?
Learn more

02.Ten most dangerous supplements

The tables below lists potentially dangerous supplements and alternative medicines. Of these, the following are the most widely available:

Colloidal silver This is permitted for sale in Australia only as a water purifier. However, that hasn’t stopped enthusiastic retailing – especially online – of large quantities of this product for therapeutic use. Companies aren’t allowed to make therapeutic claims about colloidal silver products because they are not able to be listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). Many attempt have been made to circumvent this restriction by pointing out that the TGA forbids them explaining all the alleged benefits of the product, and publishing “testimonials” from customers extolling its virtues. The TGA has taken several such companies to task, but our own research found more still flouting the regulations. One company was cheeky enough to insinuate the government is in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies to protect the antibiotics industry from this powerful competitor!

Kava is permitted for therapeutic use as an anti-anxiety supplement, provided the maximum daily dose is 250mg of the active constituent, kavalactones. It’s also a restricted import; these changes followed a voluntary recall of kava products in 2002 after an Australian fatality due to acute liver failure was reported.

Bitter orange Many weight-loss products contain bitter orange (Citrus aurantium). Alarmingly, these products also often contain caffeine and caffeine-like substances, which work with bitter orange to increase its cardiovascular effects. Bitter orange essential oils are also available.

Comfrey has been used as a healing herb for centuries. It was once known as “knit-bone” for its reputed bone healing properties. It’s easy to grow and these days is usually consumed as a tea made from homegrown plants, which can cause liver damage if taken in excessive amounts over long periods. The ointment form is not dangerous.

Top 10 dangerous supplements 






Sign up to our free

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.

Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments