Errors-To: <>
Date: Thu, 03 Sep 1998 07:59:25 -0400
From: John Hammell <>
Subject: "The Herbal Minefield"(??) Who ARE the SO CALLED

So called "Quackbuster" Stephen Barrett, MD wrote the "Herbal Minefield",
(enclosed) but don't get MAD, get EVEN! Send the form letter at the end of
this message to the FDA and to Congress.

Barrett's article represents the dregs of the mindless AMA/ pharmaceutical
opposition arrayed against consumers of dietary supplements. It was
downloaded from the "Quackwatch" homepage ( (Please
visit it to see what we are up against, because this jerk talks to Congress
and the FDA too.)

It is important for you to know some things about Dr.Barrett. Prior to
teaming up with Dr.s Jarvis, Renner, and Herbert to found the so called
"National Council Against Health Fraud", these jerks were involved with an
illegal entity that was run out of the American Medical Assn. HQ in Chicago
called "The Coordinating Committee on Health Information" or CCHI. THe CCHI
violated antitrust laws by collaborating with the FDA/FTC/and Mass Media to
suppress the FDA/Pharmaceutical industries competitors: alternative medical
practitioners, their therapies, and vitamin companies. In theory, the CCHI
was "dissolved" by the courts when the Chiropractors beat the AMA in a
landmark antitrust case: Wilke V AMA.

In reality, however, the CCHI was not really dissolved, it just went
underground, reemerging as a "shadow CCHI" known as the "National Council
Against Health Fraud" All their files ended up in Dr.Barrett's basement in
Allentown PA. This was exposed in a book called "The Assault on Medical
Freedom" by PJ Lisa (Hampton Roads Press) which only saw one printing due
to threatened lawsuits by Barrett and other so called "quackbusters". After
writing the book, Lisa fled to Mexico. Operating under the pretense of
wanting to write a book against "quackery", PJ Lisa was able to get inside
the offices of the CCHI at the AMA HQ before it was broken up by the
courts. Lisa was given carte blanche to go through their files. It was run
by a guy named H.Doyle Taylor, who compiled files on all non mainstream
medical treatments and vitamin companies and they collaborated directly
with the FDA to trigger raids against the AMA/Pharmaceutical industry's
enemies. This collaboration between the AMA/FDA/FTC/Media/Insurance
Comanies was blantantly illegal, but its still going on. After reading the
article below, please visit Barrett's "Quackwatch" website in order to more
thoroughly understand the extent of our opposition.

Then, to counter the influence which the NCAHF and the proGerman's in the
US dietary supplement industry have with the FDA, send the form letter at
the very bottom in to the FDA Dockets Management Branch to protest their
proposed rule which threatens to attack dietary supplements as "drugs"
based on intended use. cc the form letter to your Congressman, (in support
of HR 2868) and to Dr.Yetley of the FDA (in opposiiton to the German Codex
Proposal). FORWARD THIS ALERT TO MORE PEOPLE! Anyone can be on the IAHF
distribution list by sending email to with the word "add" in
the subject line. Please donate to IAHF to assist me in getting to the
Codex meeting in Berlin, Germany Sept 21-25. The meeting must be closely
monitored in order to defend our interests. I am on the US delegation, but
have to pay my way over to Germany and need your help not having deep

The Herbal Minefield
by Stephen Barrett, M.D.

In 1997, health-food-store patrons spent over a billion dollars for
capsules, tablets, bulk herbs, and herbal teas. Although many of these
items are consumed for their flavor, most are probably used for supposed
medicinal qualities. Sales by multilevel distributors and pharmacies amount
to hundreds of millions more for products that are obviously intended for
self-medication. Herbs are also marketed by naturopaths, acupuncturists,
iridologists, chiropractors, and unlicensed herbalists, many of whom
prescribe them for the entire gamut of health problems. Many such
practitioners are not qualified to make appropriate medical diagnoses or to
determine how the
products they prescribe compare to proven drugs.

Herbal advocates like to point out that about half of today's medicines
were derived from plants. (Digitalis, for example, was originally derived
from leaves of the foxglove plant.) This statement is true but misleading.
Drug products contain specified amounts of active ingredients. Herbs in
their natural state can vary greatly from batch to batch and often contain
chemicals that cause side effects but provide no benefit.

When potent natural substances are discovered, drug companies try to
isolate and synthesize the active chemical in order to provide a reliable
supply. They also attempt to make derivatives that are more potent, more
predictable, and have fewer side effects. In the case of digitalis,
derivatives provide a spectrum of speed and duration of action. Digitalis
leaf is almost never used today because its effects are less predictable.
Many herbs contain hundreds or even thousands of chemicals that have not
been completely catalogued. Some of these chemicals may turn out to be
useful as therapeutic agents, but others could well prove toxic.

In the United States, herbs intended for preventive or therapeutic use
would be regulated as drugs under federal laws. To evade the law, these
products are marketed as "foods" or "dietary supplements" without health
claims on their labels. Since herbs are not regulated as drugs, no legal
standards exist for their processing, harvesting, or packaging. In many
cases, particularly for products with expensive raw ingredients, contents
and potency are not accurately disclosed on the label. Many products marked
as herbs contain no useful ingredients, and some even lack the principal
ingredient for which people buy them. Some manufacturers are trying to develop
industrywide quality-assurance standards, but possible solutions are a long
way off.

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1993 included herbal
products in its definition of "dietary supplements," even though herbs have
little or no nutritional value. (The bill was spearheaded by the
health-food industry in order to weaken FDA regulation of its products.)
Herbal or other botanical ingredients include processed or unprocessed
plant parts (bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and stems) as well as extracts
and essential oils. They are available as teas, powders, tablets, capsules,
and elixirs, and may be marketed as single substances or combined with
other herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or non-nutrient ingredients.
The fact that an herb is known to be toxic does not ensure its removal from
the marketplace. When the FDA concludes that an herb is dangerous, it
usually issues a warning rather than a ban.

To make a rational decision about an herbal product, it would be necessary
to know what it contains, whether it is safe, and whether it has been
demonstrated to be as good or better than pharmaceutical products available
for the same purpose. For most herbal products this information is
incomplete or unavailable. Even worse, most published information about
herbs is unreliable. Varro E. Tyler, Ph.D., former dean of the Purdue
University School of Pharmacy and a leading authority on pharmacognosy (the
science of medicines from natural sources), has observed:

     More misinformation about the safety and efficacy of herbs is reaching
the public currently than at any previous time, including the
turn-of-the-century heyday of patent medicines. The literature promoting
herbs includes pamphlets, magazine articles, and books ranging in quality
from cheaply printed flyers to elaborately produced studies in fine
bindings with attractive illustrations. Practically all of these writings
recommend large numbers of herbs for treatment
based on hearsay, folklore, and tradition. The only criterion that seems to
be avoided in these publications is scientific evidence. Some writings are
so comprehensive and indiscriminate that they seem to recommend everything
for anything. Even deadly poisonous herbs are sometimes touted as remedies,
based on some outdated report or a misunderstanding of the facts.
Particularly insidious is the myth that there is something almost magical
about herbal drugs that prevents them, in their natural state, from harming

Two of Tyler's books (The Honest Herbal and Herbs of Choice) summarize what
is known about many commonly used herbs. However, with safe and effective
medicines available, treatment with herbs rarely makes sense, and many of
the conditions for which herbs are recommended are not suitable for
self-treatment. Tyler warns that consumers are less likely to receive good
value for money spent on herbal "remedies" than for almost any other
health-related products.

Books to Avoid

     The Complete Medicinal Herbal (Ody)
     Earl Mindell's Herb Bible (Mindell)
     Natural Healing with Herbs (Santillo)
Are you good and angry now? GOOD! Send a strong message to Barrett and his
FDA & Drug Cartel Cronies by sending this form letter to FDA and to Congress:

Dear Dietary Supplement Consumer:

 We have flooded the FDA with so many comments against their proposed rule
to block your access to truthful health information on the labels of
dietary supplements, that they have extended their comments period an extra
month until September 27th, 1998. It is of critical importance that we keep
the pressure on, right up until the deadline! The form letter below fully
explains this situation, as well as another which we must also protest! The
German Codex proposal which threatens to internationally limit consumers to
untherapeutic potencies of vitamins and minerals, as well as to regulate
any dietary supplement not having an RDA as a “drug” threatens to advance,
once again, at the upcoming Codex meeting in Berlin from September 21-25th.
Beth Yetley, Ph.D. and Robert Moore, Ph.D, of the FDA will represent
America at this meeting. An inside the beltway pressure group called
“Center for Science in the Public Interest” has submitted comments to the
FDA in an effort to pressure them to stop opposing the German Codex
proposal, alleging falsely that dietary supplements are “dangerous” to
consumers. CSPI is urging the FDA to exploit several loopholes existing in
DSHEA, claiming that they allow FDA to back the German Codex proposal.
These loopholes require us to ask Congress to pass HR 2868, so cc the form
letter to your Congressman. It is imperative that we bury the FDA with
complaints about CSPI’s comments, and that we insist that the FDA demand
the complete withdrawal of the German Codex proposal which diametrically
opposes our domestic policy regarding access to dietary supplements. For
more information on how you can help carry this warning to consumers all
over the world, please visit the IAHF website at, email us at, for more info call 800-333-2553.  (Get in to FDA by Sept.
19, if possible, Sept. 27th at latest.)
----------------------------cut here-----------------------------------cut
Submit comments to: Dockets Management Branch (HFA 305) FDA, 200 C. St. SW,
Washington, DC 20204 (email or fax 301/827-6870)
Re: (Docket # 98 N-044) RIN 0910-AA59 Regulations on Statements Made for
Dietary Supplements Concerning the Effect of the Product on the Structure
or Function of the Body/   email to Dr.Yetley

To: FDA Dockets Management Branch & Beth Yetley, Ph.D., Robert Moore,
Ph.D., US Codex Delegates:

Your Proposed Rule on dietary supplement labeling will have an adverse
effect on public health by placing arbitrary and capricious limits on the
allowable health information that can be presented to consumers at the
point of sale on dietary supplements, in compliance with the First
Amendment. Your definition of disease is overly broad, and you are clearly
over reaching. In your zeal to “insure that dietary supplements don’t act
as a disincentive to new drug development” (Gary Dykstra, FDA), you would
even disallow structure-function claims relative to aging: i.e.: “hot
flashes” (since when are aging or menopause “disease states”?)

In the US District Court in Utah, Judge Dale Kimball just issued an
injunction against the FDA forcing you to lift your ban on cholestin, which
he declared was a dietary supplement under DSHEA. You tried to ban this
safe Chinese red rice yeast extract which helps lower cholesterol because
its sale angers pharmaceutical giant Merck. We remind you that dietary
supplements were specifically exempted from the harmonization language in
the FDA Reform Bill and that Congress was flooded with faxes, email, and
outraged calls on this issue as recently as October, 1997. Prior to that,
in 1994, Congress received more mail on this issue than on anything since
the Vietnam war. For the sake of the public health, we strongly urge you to
change the proposed rule and stop blurring the distinction between disease
and a health condition. ADDITIONALLY: I request that you forward this
message to Dr.s Yetley and Moore at FDA Office of Special Nutritionals
(CFSAN) to inform them that at the CODEX meeting in Berlin (September
21-25), I INSIST that they demand the complete withdrawal of the German
Codex Proposal which diametrically opposes US law, and which threatens the
public health world wide.

cc to my Congressman in support of HR 2868, Consumer Health Free Speech
Act- removes food from the overly broad statutory definition of a drug-
allowing for therapeutic claims, as long as they are true.



City:_________________________________ State:_________Zip:___________


Am On the US Codex Delegation, But the Gov.
Doesn't Pay Our Way for NGO Observers
If YOU Want the Shell Game Monitored-
Kindly Help Met To Defend YOUR Access to
Send Check or MO in US $ to:
John C. Hammell, legislative advocate
IAHF 2411 Monroe St.
Hollywood, Florida 33020 USA
800-333-2553, 954-929-2905 outside USA, fax 954-929-0507