Food or Medicine? How Do You Know if a Complementary Medicine is Safe?
In the past 20 years the health benefits of Turmeric, and its active ingredient, curcumin, have become well known. Some products, like turmeric, are both food and medicine. In its raw or powdered form, it is considered a food. However, if the active ingredients are extracted, concentrated and marketed in a liquid or tablet form, with claims that it can be used to relieve the symptoms of inflammation, then it may be considered a medicine. But how do you know if a product will live up to the claims made?
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is a part of the Australian Government Department of Health, and is responsible for regulating therapeutic products; their supply, their import and export, manufacture and advertising.
Look for the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) assurance codes on any ‘therapeutic’ products you purchase to be sure that they meet Australian standards. The work of the TGA is to protect the population from incorrect claims and ineffective or dangerous products. It came into being in Australia in 1961 after the drug Thalidomide caused unforeseen and devastating effects on unborn babies.
Lower risk medicines, such as turmeric supplements, have an AUST L number on the label. You can check out the TGA complementary medicines guidelines here. The AUST L or AUST R number on your medicine package shows that the TGA has evaluated the product and it is on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
Listed products have been through rigorous TGA assessments, ensuring that they have been produced safely and are marketed honestly. This ensures absolute transparency and gives consumers peace of mind that standards have been met.
The TGA employs doctors, scientists, biomedical engineers and other specialists to read, analyse, question and evaluate thousands of pages of documentation before approving a product. By world standards, Australia’s therapeutic goods meet high quality and safety standards.
Look for the TGA assurance codes on any ‘therapeutic’ products you purchase to be sure that they meet Australian standards.