An investigation by the New York Attorney General has revealed that many health conscious consumers have been duped into paying high prices for herbal supplements that are essentially sugar pills. The office tested several name-brand herbal supplements (Gingko Biloba, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Garlic, Echinacea, Saw Palmetto, and Valerian Root) from Walgreens, GNC, Target and WalMart to determine if they contained the advertised ingredients. The study revealed that some of the herbal supplements tested had none of the ingredients advertised. In some cases, the supplements contained many ingredients not advertised on the label, such as wheat, soy, and beans—known allergens that could pose potentially serious health risks if unknowingly ingested by those with allergies.
The results were so troubling that the New York Attorney General ordered the retailers to cease and desist selling certain products in New York State. Unfortunately, the power of the New York Attorney General does not extend beyond New York State, so they may still be available for sale in your state. Furthermore, the cease and desist letters do not require the retailers to reimburse consumers who purchased these not-as-advertised supplements.