That's the message from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who sent letters to the supplement store GNC, as well as Target, Walmart and Walgreens asking those companies to stop selling popular supplements after finding many of them didn't have any of the advertised herbs in them, at all.
These included popular supplements including Echinaeca, ginseng, St. John's Wort and saw palmetto, used by more than 100 million Americans every year.
The Food and Drug Administration does investigate and remove supplements proven to be unsafe, but they don't regulate nutritional supplements for effectiveness. And, they only step in only once harm has occurred.
Up until that point, it's up to the manufacturer to follow what the FDA calls 'good manufacturing practices'.
Dr. Richard Van Breeman is director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Botanical and Dietary Supplements Research, a joint venture with the National Institutes of Health.
He joins Here & Now's Robin Young to discuss herbal supplements, their effectiveness and the pitfalls in testing them.
- Dr. Richard Van Breeman, director of the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Botanical and Dietary Supplements Research, a joint venture with the National Institutes of Health.
This segment aired on February 3, 2015.