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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 January 2006, 13:23 GMT
GP's worry over Chinese medicine
A doctor has warned people to be cautious when using alternative Chinese medicine, which has become more popular in the South West.

Dr Sarah Grey, a GP from Cornwall, is concerned it is not subject to the same rules as conventional medicine.

She is calling for more information to be distributed with remedies.

But Chinese practitioners in Devon and Cornwall have claimed their treatments are natural and have been widely used for centuries.

Herbal products are legally classed as food additives, which means they neither have to be proven to work, nor proven to be safe
Dr Sarah Grey
Dr Qiao Way from the Dr China shop in Truro said they work by dividing the body into energy channels.

Another practitioner, who has a treatment centre in Devon, said Chinese herbal remedies were natural and alternative therapies and are now accepted and used by many conventional western doctors.

Dr Grey said she was not surprised that more people are turning to alternative treatments, but she is worried they may not know all the facts.

She told BBC News labelling and instructions on bottles and packaging were not subject to the same strict rules as conventional medicine.

"I have deep concerns about standardisation and safety," Dr Grey said.

"At the moment herbal products are legally classed as food additives, which means they neither have to be proven to work, nor proven to be safe, which is quite different from conventional drugs."

An estimated 6,000 stores across the country offer various treatments and medicines for conditions ranging from eczema to the menopause, stress, smoking and obesity.

Members of the Association of Traditional Chinese medicine have previously supported calls for tighter regulation to protect their image.




SEE ALSO:
Chinese medicine outlets probed
13 Nov 05 |  Health
Herbal remedies 'do work'
28 Sep 04 |  Health


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