Here, have some mercury pills for your insomnia…

Cinnabar, a mercury ore, is still used in TCM. But mercury is natural, right? And natural is good. (naturalistic fallacy) Nature will poison you.

Experts caution over cinnabar use.

Experts in traditional Chinese medicine are calling for caution over the use of some products that contain cinnabar, or mercury sulfide.

The mercury content in the chemical can build up in the human body over time and cause damage to organs, including the kidneys, and the nervous system.

The controversy goes back to May 7, when health authorities in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region recalled a batch of Tongrentang medicine as it contained five times the mercury limit permitted in Hong Kong.

Tongrentang responded by saying its medicines containing cinnabar comply with the national standard, and are safe and effective as long as they are taken according to instructions.

Cui Yongqiang, chief of the international cooperation department at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences’ Guang’anmen Hospital and a senior TCM specialist, said great caution is required with cinnabar.

I have a BIG problem with this. First off, where are the clinical trials that show that taking this product is effective and safe? Is it just his word? We have studies that show that mercury poisoning happens from several indirect sources – like eating fish and from atmospheric mercury that accumulates on land and water due to coal burning power plants. We all can do fine without mercury, actually. We certainly don’t need mercury as a supplement. It is ridiculous to think that this toxic metal is being distributed as pills at a time when we KNOW it is not beneficial but almost certainly detrimental in this form. People who mined cinnabar were commonly poisoned by the mercury it contained.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is pre-scientific, unregulated, and, for safety, should be avoided entirely.

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  4 comments for “Here, have some mercury pills for your insomnia…

  1. One Eyed Jack
    May 26, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Tongrentang responded by saying its medicines containing cinnabar comply with the national standard, and are safe and effective as long as they are taken according to instructions.

    What a horrible company! They don’t care that they may be harming their customers. All they care is that they’re selling product. Horrible, horrible people.

  2. Chris Howard
    May 26, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    It will cure your insomnia — TO DEATH!!! — Bwa ha ha ha ha!!!! Sorry. That will be $25, thank you.

  3. spookyparadigm
    May 26, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    1. Could have used insomnia cure last night

    2. As mesoamerican archaeologist, very familiar with concerns about cinnabar.

  4. meamoi
    May 26, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    You know what alternative medicine becomes called when it’s proven it works? Medicine….
    You know what medicine that works becomes called when its shown it can easily be made at home and is not patentable or profitable to make as a result? Alternative Medicine.

    You know what actually makes a difference?
    Not the title of alternative medicine vs medicine, but unbiased trial studies vs the lack thereof.

    You know what probably has multiple studies showing its bad for you, and none saying its good for you? Mercury.

    (Hint to save money: Any medicine you are suggested to take, look up the patent, and then backtrack associated chemicals. A surprising number of expensive drugs are just synthesized versions of common materials often used as “Alternative” medicines. However, a lot of alternative medicines are also bubkis. As with doing most things in life… research, research, research.)

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