The Chinese herbal remedy in question posed a “very serious health hazard” according to the country’s food safety watchdog.
The toxic substance was found in a product called Niu-Huang Chieh-tu-pien,
which is claimed by online vendors of traditional Chinese medicine to cure
numerous conditions, including toothache, skin infections, anorexia and fever
The product is also sold under the Indian names Divya Kaishore Guggul and
“The recommended dose provides a daily amount of inorganic arsenic which in
a worst case scenario equals half a lethal dose,” said Leif Busk, a
toxicologist at Sweden’s National Food Agency (Livmedelsverket).
“Consequently, anyone who takes it can be very seriously affected. It’s
frightening to think there are companies selling these very hazardous
The product was discovered and removed from shelves in Stockholm this
summer, but could still be on sale in other Swedish cities. It can also be
bought on the Internet.
Local authorities in Stockholm have issued a warning to other European
countries through an EU alert system, according to the agency.