The use and popularity of herbal products including herbal medicines and dietary supplements continue to increase globally.  At one end, the use of herbal medicines is linked to the availability and affordability while at the other end, individuals may feel pressured to look certain ways which has provided the industry with a large elevation particularly in dietary supplements to reduce weight. However, public health and safety concerns also continue to grow. Several studies have highlighted the potential toxic effects of these products.

In this presentation Lata Gautam, Anglia Ruskin University, and her research team covers findings from a recent survey on public knowledge and perception about herbal medicines, herbal products and dietary supplements effectiveness and safety.

They also reveal findings from a lab-based study on detection of toxic metals in herbal medicines and a hospital based study conducted to investigate the contribution of herbal medicine related casualty and fatality figures. With an interdisciplinary mixed method approach drawn from public health and forensic chemistry, the study provides some unique insights to improve public health policies and awareness with positive health outcomes.


Dr Lata Gautam is Principal Lecturer in Forensic Science at Anglia Ruskin University. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Lata’s expertise lies in drugs, pharmaceuticals and herbal products analysis using chromatography and mass spectrometry.

Dr Olujimi Aina (former ARU student) who has recently completed his PhD in interdisciplinary research combining forensic chemistry and public health looking at herbal medicines use in Nigeria.

Abbey Sullivan, current ARU MSc student who is undertaking a survey based research on herbal products and dietary pills use to investigate public knowledge and perception about these products.

Event presented as part of ARU Discover event series.

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11 Nov 2020, 7:00 pm

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