Safety of complementary and alternative medicine treatments and practices Chapter uri icon


  • Complementary and alternative (CAM) treatment systems are being studied more intensely in recent years. Adverse events (AEs), errors, toxicities and interactions have reporting mechanisms in many countries but continue to be inconsistent in aggregation and causality assessment. The information available regarding dietary supplements (DS) and other CAM modalities with a prejudice toward safe and natural can deceive the consumer. DS are pharmacologically active moieties that act differently depending on the individual's state of being. Contamination of DS with heavy metals, unlabeled medications or other plant or animal products continues to plague the industry but newer methods of detection are being developed and used to assure quality of manufacturing. Manipulative and mindbody therapies are also undergoing scrutiny for appropriateness and efficacy without harm. Healthcare providers should familiarize themselves with CAM practices and their benefits and the associated risks to best care for their patient populations. In this review of the current literature from January through December 2018, the adverse effects of herbal dietary supplements (HDS) are organized as affecting different physiological systems. Many examples of unintentional and intentional contamination of HDS and methods of detection were recorded. The AEs reported for mindbody therapies were fewer in number and severity as compared to HDS, but without systematic reporting and monitoring it can be difficult to grasp the full extent of the impact side effects (SE) of various CAM therapies can have.

author list (cited authors)

  • Bellanger, R. A., Seeger, C. M., & Smith, H. E.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Bellanger, RA||Seeger, CM||Smith, HE

editor list (cited editors)

  • Ray, S. D.

Book Title

  • A Worldwide Yearly Survey of New Data in Adverse Drug Reactions

publication date

  • January 2019