AUSTRALIA’S herbal medicine sector is struggling to keep up with the surge in demand, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission finding herbal products are being priced far too high.
The regulator also found the prices of some herbal products were far too much, with many costing more than $2 per serving.
The watchdog said some herbal supplements were also being advertised as ‘herbal treatment’ and not ‘herbals’ or ‘herbs’, a term which has been used to describe a herbal supplement.
“Some herbal supplements are marketed as being herbal treatment only, and others are marketed to treat health problems or disease,” the regulator said in a statement.
“These labels can mislead consumers about what products contain what ingredients and to whom they should be used.”
The regulator said the labels often mislead consumers into believing that certain products are herbal treatments, when in fact they are not.
“It is important that consumers are aware of the different herbal treatments available, as herbal remedies have a wide range of uses, including for the treatment of diseases, such as asthma, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis,” it said.
“The Australian Food Standards and Trade Commission has been working with the manufacturer of some of these herbal supplements, the National Association of Herbalists, to ensure that these products are accurately labelled and labelled correctly.”
The commission also said there was no evidence that consumers were being misled by these herbal products, which it described as “highly potent, well-documented and widely used herbal supplements”.
“The commission is concerned that herbal products sold on the internet or in pharmacies are often labelled as herbal treatment or herbal supplements and do not meet the definition of a herbal product,” the agency said.’
Not what they said’The regulator found many of the herbal supplements advertised as herbal treatments on the websites were not actually herbal products at all.
“Many of the products on these websites were highly potent, and not what they described,” it noted.
The watchdog also found some herbal supplement labels were misleading, with some labels including a label for a ‘Herbal Treatment’ label that did not say that the product was herbal, but contained ingredients that did.
“This label is misleading because it fails to accurately identify the specific ingredients and dosage for each product,” it wrote.
“In addition, many of these ingredients are not ‘prescribed’ for their intended use, and they can be misused or misbranded.”
Although herbal remedies are widely used in the health and wellness industry, these supplements are not herbal products.
“The FTC said the agency would take action if the supplements did not comply with the law, which could include requiring them to refund consumers if they were not properly labelled.