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Study finds that the majority of herbal supplement retailers are scamming the hell out of you

An investigation into the store-brand supplements from four national retailers – GNC, Walgreen’s, Target, and Walmart — has relieved that they contain little to no herbs specified on their labels.

An investigation into the store-brand supplements from four national retailers – GNC, Walgreen’s, Target, and Walmart  has relieved that they contain little to no herbs specified on their labels.

The New York State attorney general’s office, who conducted the investigation, also found that many of the supplements included potential allergens which were not identified in the ingredients list.

The stores were given cease-and-desist letters, requesting that they stop selling these products. According to a February report from the New York Times, the letters maintained that “contamination, substitution and falsely labeling herbal products constitute deceptive business practices and, more importantly, present considerable health risks for consumers.”

Here are the findings from the investigations into the products below (via the NY Times):

Walmart — Spring Valley brand:

Echinacea – No echinacea or plant material was found in the supplement

Saw Palmetto – Garlic and rice were found in the product
Some samples contained small amounts of saw palmetto

Ginseng – No ginseng detected
Instead, rice, dracaena, pine, wheat/grass and citrus were found in the supplement

Gingko Biloba – No gingko Biloba found in the dietary supplement
Instead, the product included rice, dracaena, mustard, wheat and radish

St. John’s Wort – No St. John’s Wort found
Detected garlic, rice and cassava

Garlic – One sample showed small amounts of garlic
The product included rice, pine, palm, dracaena and wheat

Spring Valley brand has little in the way of herbs described on label

Walgreens — Finest Nutrition brand

Echinacea – No echinacea detected
They found garlic, rice and daisy

Saw Palmetto – Contained saw palmetto

Ginseng – No ginseng found
Detected garlic and rice

Gingko Biloba – No gingko Biloba detected
Rice was found in the product

St. John’s Wort – No St. John’s Wort found
Detected garlic, rice and dracaena

Garlic – No garlic found
Detected palm, dracaena, wheat and rice

Finest Nutrition brand has little in the way of herbs described on label

GNC — Herbal Plus brand:

Echinacea – No echinacea found
rice found in some samples

Saw Palmetto – One sample contained the clear presence of palmetto
Other samples contained a variety of ingredients, including rice, asparagus, and primrose

Ginseng – No ginseng found
detected rice, dracaena, pine, wheat/grass and citrus

Gingko Biloba – No gingko Biloba found
Did detect allium (garlic), rice, spruce and asparagus

St. John’s Wort – No St. John’s Wort found
detected allium (garlic), rice and dracaena (a tropical houseplant)

Garlic – Contained garlic

GNC, Herbal Plus

Target — Up & Up brand
Echinacea — Most, but not all tests detected Echinacea
One test identified rice in the content

Saw Palmetto – Most tests detected saw palmetto
Some tests found no plant DNA

Valerian Root – No valerian root found
Detected asparagus, pea family, rice, wild carrot, allium, bean, and saw palmetto

Gingko Biloba – No gingko Biloba detected
Found garlic, rice and mung/French bean

St. John’s Wort – No St. John’s Wort found
Found garlic, rice and dracaena (houseplant)

Garlic – Contained garlic
One test identified no DNA

up & up vitamins

Feature image via NCPR

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