Archive for Friday, July 9, 2010

FDA issues alert on herbal supplement

The Federal Drug Administration issued a public health alert in regard to a substance sold at downtown Lawrence's Sacred Journey store. The weight loss pill contains a substance that is detrimental to heart health.

July 9, 2010


One month after authorities raided a downtown Lawrence store, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued a public health alert about the herbal supplement at the center of the controversy.

Law enforcement officials shut down Sacred Journey, 1103 Mass., on June 10, seizing an herbal weight-loss supplement called Que She.

Thursday, the FDA said the weight-loss pills contain potentially harmful ingredients, and anyone who has purchased it should stop using the product immediately and consult their doctor.

The health alert said Que She, advertised as “an all-natural blend of Chinese herbs” contains active pharmacuetical ingredients not listed on the label that could harm consumers, especially anyone with cardiovascular conditions.

The FDA analyzed Que She and found it contains the drug fenfluramine, which was withdrawn from the U.S. market in 1997 for causing serious heart valve damage, and another controlled substance that’s been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with a history of heart disease.

An employee at Sacred Journey did not want to comment about the alert, but the store did have a copy of the warning taped to the front door.


Andrew Reeves 7 years, 9 months ago

What does this have to do with K2? Isn't that the reason they shut everything down?

It sounds like guilt by association to me. This little blirp in the Lawrence news gets stuck in peoples' heads. It is intentional. In the near future, people who caught this article and forgot about it will think to themselves, "Oh yeah, that herb they're selling at that one place, it is dangerous for you."


Why isn't the Tea Party protesting this stuff. Big Government????????

del888 7 years, 9 months ago

what are you talking about??? This has nothing to do with K2. Not even mentioned in the article. This place has been shut down twice - once for K2 and once for Fen-fen. Maybe next time it will be permanent.

Jaylee 7 years, 9 months ago

Maybe the article should have differentiated the two shutdowns, and started by having even mentioned the K2 one?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

While the FDA makes the herb sound horrible if the FDA mandated that every prescription label contain the many many many potential serious impacts of a prescribed pharmaceutical the pill bottles might need to 6 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter.

Yes many many many prescription drugs may have serious impacts on your heart.

I'm getting a sense that the pharmaceutical industry does not want competition. In fact if they their way they would control Vitamin C.

FYI so I read our college institutions are doing most of the research and development of new drugs for the industry. YES our tax dollars! So why are WE paying so damn much for our prescriptions?

KansasPerson 7 years, 9 months ago

"Yes many many many prescription drugs may have serious impacts on your heart. "

Yes, BUT no one is supposed to be taking prescription drugs without a healthcare professional monitoring dosage and warning the patient about the side effects.

On the other hand, in a situation like the above, anyone can walk in and buy a dangerous drug and use it without any knowledge of its side effects (because a lot of people don't do their homework and some folks still think as long as it says "natural" it means "harmless").

"While the FDA makes the herb sound horrible if the FDA mandated that every prescription label contain the many many many potential serious impacts of a prescribed pharmaceutical the pill bottles might need to 6 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter."

Well, they may not put it on the label (that's usually reserved for your name, your specific doctor's contact info, and your dosage) but it's definitely on the package insert that comes with every pharmaceutical product I've ever seen.

So you don't want the government interfering with the pharmaceutical trade? Would you rather go back to the days before 1906 (passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act) when foods were routinely adulterated (often to make up the weight) and "medical elixirs" often contained grain alcohol or worse?

Lastly -- I would like a reference for your last paragraph, please.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 9 months ago

you're just now getting that sense Merrill? Big pharma. is a selfish mofo and they own the FDA

repete66211 7 years, 9 months ago

First of all, supplements aren't regulated like prescription drugs. (Thank chiropractor-congressman what's his name.) Secondly, many supplement companies are owned by Big Pharma for exactly this reason--you can make claims of efficacy without any evidence (even contrary to evidence) and you can make up whatever dose you want out of whatever material you want without fear of being shut down. Remember ephedra?

Jimbecile 7 years, 9 months ago

It was shut down because the shop was Haunted.

Jimbecile 7 years, 9 months ago

I had thought it was shut down because the shop was Haunted.

pooter 7 years, 9 months ago

One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small

And the ones that government gives you

Don't do anything at all

Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall.


OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 9 months ago

You guys can moan and complain all you want about how the government is screwing everyone and corrupt, but there's nothing in THIS story to complain about. If the FDA's claims are true, then the FDA probably just saved a bunch of hippies' lives. They thought they were being given [cue sitar music] all natural herbs from Mother Earth, but they were getting banned poisons [cue theme from "Jaws"].

Something tells me this trainwreck involves Chinese suppliers.

audibleangel 7 years, 9 months ago

shut em down for good. if these people want to benefit from the weaknesses and habits of Americans they can go work for the tobacco corporations. i was angry already about K2....through medical trials its been proven that K2 skyrockets anxiety and can cause other health problems, but this is just ridiculous- marketing diet pills as herbal and 'safe' (and they very well may be herbal, but i think the side affects of long term heart problems discredit any connotations regarding that word.) if anything, the "man" is to blame for not recognizing earlier the lack of research these people have done before distributing all these wonder-products they boast of so confidently.

it baffles me that people believe it makes more sense to spray a chemical on some herbs to simulate the affects of weed when smoked, instead of writing legislators to encourage legalization of the real deal. (you know, the stuff that grows naturally, was here way before we were, was slandered by completely ridiculous and racial propaganda a hundred years ago so the timber industry wouldn't suffer...)

k2, kids! instead of curing your health problems and anxiety, it gives you them!

pills4profit 7 years, 9 months ago

....through medical trials its been proven that K2 skyrockets anxiety and can cause other health problems...


K2 has not been around long enough to go through any testing whatsoever, the chemical was just recently synthesized. So you have no idea what your talking about in that regard.

If I'm wrong, show me the studies . . .

Practicality 7 years, 9 months ago

Good job FDA. Good job on catching these poisons that were being sold as "herbs". We have enough brain-dead pot smokers walking around this town, no need to give them a heart attack too.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 9 months ago

you're an absolute idiot. incorrectly stereotyping marijuana users, and then making a broad assumption that they would also jump on the bandwagon to use these herbs.

How many brain-dead pot smokers have you met today? what did they do that was so horrific and detrimental to your way of living? I wish I was simple minded enough to believe everything the government told me.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

How many brain-dead pot smokers have you met today?

I saw one for a few minutes today. He's a friendly if somewhat uneducated fellow. In fact he's one of the few people I can't seem to badger into a rage. I like him for that.

lounger 7 years, 9 months ago

Practicality get a clue before you post.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

Thank you great and almighty mother, thee, US government, for protecting me even as it is no business what goes into my body. Thou shalt be our new god and we shall prostate ourselves before thee in reverence. Hail congress, Heil president! May your will be done.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 9 months ago

Clearly, you did NOT read this article. Users of this product are going to suffer heart valve damage. You'd prefer that the FDA do nothing and allow more and more people get hurt?!

Stuart Evans 7 years, 9 months ago

are users definitely going to suffer heart valve damage? how much does it take to cause such damage? Are these the same scare tactics as "marijuana causes schitzophrenia"? I would prefer that the FDA spend less time licking the bottom side of the pharmaceutical industry, and more time actually protecting people. But I guess thousands of deaths annually from FDA regulated drugs is still ok.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

The drug that causes problems is fenfluramine - I believe it was marketed as "fen-phen" or some such.

It was recalled due to various problems and deaths among users.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

Ummm, users of crack cocaine will have heart attacks and die on the spot, yet, I am in favor of making crack cocaine legal. Don't think I didn't read the article because I don't agree that the nanny-state knows better than citizens what they should do with their bodies.

Moral: Not everyone you disagree with knows less than you.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 9 months ago

" I don't agree that the nanny-state knows better than citizens what they should do with their bodies."

Again: you either didn't read the story, or don't understand it. This is not about keeping people from using a substance as much as it is about disclosure. If you had been using this product, you would have been UNKNOWINGLY using a dangerous drug. I think you should be able to make informed decisions, but none of these consumers/victims were informed in any way.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

If the amounts were in excess of what is found in the natural ingredients, the enrichment should be labled, if the amounts were consistent with the natural ingredients, then everyone made as informed a decision as they felt necessary.

The FDA seems quiet about the amount of "active pharmaceutical ingredients not listed on the label". Poppy seeds on your bread will turn up in a drug test as heroine. Should hamburger buns be confiscated next?

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

What about the fact that there were dangerous ingredients in the product that weren't disclosed?

Shouldn't we all have the right to make an informed decision, at the very least?

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

All drugs should be OTC legal and all ingredients listed. You are right in that we should be allowed to make informed decisions. Yours is a nice reasonable stance on this matter. Kudos to you.

Dan Edwards 7 years, 9 months ago

I can't believe people here are defending a product with an ingredient label of "an all-natural blend of Chinese herbs". Idiots with more trust than brains then buy it under the assumption its just a bunch of dried flowers and berries with magical powers.

And even though this has nothing to do with K2, K2 was marketed under a similar guise--that it's just like potpourri or something... when the "magical" ingredient is a chemical made in a chinese lab somewhere under no standards whatsoever.

And people willingly put this crap in their bodies?

Believe me I am NO fan of prescription or OTC medications either (I avoid those too unless it's a life/death or a severe pain issue), but at least they disclose the actual ingredients for you to research.

Amazing the trust people put in something just because it's being sold in a store.

bad_dog 7 years, 9 months ago

dano, FYI, not all ingredients in Rx drugs are disclosed and determining all the ingredients can be a major pain in the butt, if even achievable. For example did you know that corn is an ingredient used as a binding agent in many pharmaceuticals? No big deal, right? Well it sure can be if you're allergic to corn.

How about food coloring? Did you know red and blue food dyes are often used in white colored medications? Again, no big deal unless you have allergies to food dyes.

I know people that suffer from these allergies and they have spent countless hours with their doctors, pharmacies, PDRs, online researching, etc. trying to determine whether these ingredients were a componenent of medications they were prescribed. It's a painful process to undertake as the manufacturers apparently aren't beholden to the consumer in this regard or at least don't believe they need to answer simple questions directed to them by consumers or their physicians.

The alternative is to just take the meds in some sort of blind faith and hope you don't have an allergic reaction ranging from gastrintestinal distress to hives to asthmatic attacks. I wouldn't want to think of how dire the outcome could be if one of these ingredients were encountered in sufficient levels to trigger a full blown anaphalactic reaction. So yes, it is a big deal from their perspectives.

Bailey Perkins 7 years, 9 months ago

There's a fad, at the moment, that the FDA won't admit conflicts with your health...just research SOY BEANS and quit complaining about herbal supplements!

Irenaku 7 years, 9 months ago

Ugh. Shut this store down. I think having one less store that reeks of cheap incense and sells allegedly "ethnic' clothing that is not fair trade would be a positive, not a negative. I am on a mostly vegetarian diet, take a lot of herbs and supplements and vitamins, and am not prone to go into blind panic every time the FDA states that a specific herbal supplement may not be healthy. But this store is a farce, a fad, and should be shut down. I recall when they tried to shut them down the first time, and there was a "protest" parade on Mass stree by some of the store's customers. Literally, it was about 10 or 12 people, many of them dressed in fairy wings and spinning hula hoops. If you want to be taken seriously, then please grow up and give me specific reasons why SJ is a legit business.

MSD 7 years, 9 months ago

Just because you wouldn't choose to shop there does not make it an illegitimate business. How about YOU provide reasons why it's not a legitimate business--something beyond your dislike of incense...

Irenaku 7 years, 9 months ago

MSD: I stand corrected...technically it is legitimate business in that it has been open and operating for awhile now. What I intended to convey that it is a poor use of space and given the individuals who were protesting it's closing, apparently not an important or worthwhile operation. It is cheap, kitschy and whoever does the artwork on the window should stop now, because it is an eyesore. Also, I don't dislike incense, just the nasty smelling incense that has been made with synthetic chemicals and fragrances and is passed off as some kind of hippy-dippy mother earth mood enhancing smell-good. Ick!

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Then don't go there if you don't like it.

If enough people share your opinion, it will go out of business. If not, then you're wrong.

And who on earth decided you should get to decide which businesses are "important" or "worthwhile"? Did someone elect you to some sort of arbiter position?

tomatogrower 7 years, 9 months ago

The FDA may be right about this supplement, but why did the raid occur before the FDA announcements. And why a raid? Why not just inform them of the problem, and see if they wouldn't voluntarily take it off the shelves and inform their customers? I don't see these raids happening across the country. And why were they raided before K2 was banned? Don't they have to wait until the law is passed?
I haven't been in this store much. We usually go to the Third Planet for our incense, and some clothing. I love the smell of incense. Sorry, Irenaku. You wouldn't like it at my house. We burn incense often.

Irenaku 7 years, 9 months ago

tomatogrower: please see my above comment regarding incense. There is real incense, and then there is cheap nasty incense. There is a difference. Unfortunately, third planet is not much better...

tomatogrower 7 years, 9 months ago

I didn't know there was gourmet incense. Sorry, I'm not rich enough for that.

Irenaku 7 years, 9 months ago

hee hee...neither am I, tomatogrower! I am a student and work part time, so if there is such a thing as "gourmet" incense, I have not used it either! Sorry to disappoint you!
Personally I love patchouli oil, it is my signature scent. Hippies like it because it covers up the nasty body odor. I love it because it rocks. :)

pagan_idolator 7 years, 9 months ago

You could always make your own incense. Its not as hard as you might think. The sticks take some work and can be messy as well as making the cones. The easiest way is to make a incense that is a collection of herbs and oils and burning them on a charcoal that is made to burn indoors. You can come up with a lot of interesting scents. Burning resins is also an option - they also need the indoor charcoals. Never use a charcoal that is used for bbq grills - poisonous indoors!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

Like doctors always tell patients taking these uppers or downers will make one a drug addict.

I'm not so sure doctors necessarily take the time to advise of all the possible side effects.......

Practicality 7 years, 9 months ago

Please, please, please stop talking about incense. Everybody knows that only pot-heads use stinky incense because they think it covers up their stinky Marijuana smoke.

Good job FDA!

pagan_idolator 7 years, 9 months ago

Sir or Madam - with all due respect I have to disagree. I use it to cover up the smell of my stinky house from shirking my domestic duties.. Heh - just kidding. I'm not a pot-head but I do like me some incense.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm beginning to understand you. It's obvious that you're just ignorant.

Practicality 7 years, 9 months ago

AreUNorml says,

"How many brain-dead pot smokers have you met today?"

Only talked to one via the internet today. Care to take a guess on who that is?

Stuart Evans 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm sure that you must mean me. However, I can hold my own all day long with someone like you.

calwt262 7 years, 9 months ago

I would like to issue an alert regarding the first batch of jalepeno peppers I harvested from my garden this year. I ate my first one at lunch today (cut into slices and put in a burrito). Upon my first bite, in a split second before I could even taste anything, a chemical reaction occurred in my brain, scaring the hell out of me. By the time def-com 5 subsided in my brain, my mouth was suffering near chemical burns. Once the burning stopped, I kind of felt like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning. Now I think I want another one.

pagan_idolator 7 years, 9 months ago

I do believe I will just be forwarding this post to the FDA........

Stuart Evans 7 years, 9 months ago

so they are both dangerous and addictive? yes, we must immediately throw a trillion dollars and 40 years at combating this new threat to our children.

jonas_opines 7 years, 9 months ago

Hmmm. . . . after a half-year hiatus, impracticality returns to his pet fixation.

Mr_B9 7 years, 9 months ago

Is federal, state and local government a herb or prescription? Not sure, but either way the FDA should check into it. I am positive they are raising my anxiety. Surely that cannot be good for my health.

Eurekahwk 7 years, 9 months ago

Many herbs have served the Orient very well for centuries while people in those countries live into their 90's and 100s. Meanwhile, just a century ago the common cold could wipe out the masses in America. The Food and Drug is going around telling everyone what's right, much like all of our government who sponsors the FDA. But they do allow our foods to be poisoned with hormones and pesticides. The FDA has too many political influences to be taken seriously.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Actually, the major problem with the FDA is that large drug companies pay for a lot of their research.

It would be better if the government actually did "sponsor" the FDA - then they wouldn't be indebted to drug companies, with the obvious conflict of interest that causes.

independant1 7 years, 9 months ago

Phooey on the herbal supplement business. It's another piece part of the commie plot.

Gimme pure grain alchohol and distilled water!

P.S. A boxcar of marshmellows will kill you if it falls on your head.

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