Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Safi from Hamdard : is it poisonous?


There is a sudden emphasis on the holistic approach to healthcare – newspapers, television and journals are flashed with advertisements about the popularity of the ancient Indian Ayurveda and herbs which are extremely effective in dealing with any kind of ailment in the most natural and safest way. Herbs play a very important role in the modern times when the damaging effects of food processing and over-medication have assumed alarming proportions. Not only as alternative medicines, herbs, are also used in cosmetics, various food items and most popularly teas. People are slowly starting to believe that herbs have a vast potential for their use as a curative medicine.

History of Hamdard
In the year 1906, Hamdard Laboratories was launched in Delhi by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed, a popular Unani practitioner of the yester-years. The term ‘Hamdard’ means ‘empathizer’ or ‘companion in suffering’ in Urdu. After the death of Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed, his son Hakeem Abdul Hameed took over the reigns of the company and at the tender age of fourteen became poularly known as the ‘hakeem sahab’ amongst the people. It was under the giudance and supervision of this ‘Hakeem sahab’, Hamdard became a household name in India and also became a well known international name.

Hamdard (Wakf) Laboratories is the largest producer of Unani medicines in the world. The company became a ‘wakf’ or a non profitable organization in the year 1948. The popular Hamdard products are – Safi, Rooh Afza Sharbat, Cinkara, Roghan Badam Shirin and Pachnol. Hamdard Laboratories is associated with the Hamdard Foundation, a charitable educational trust that reinvests its profits into charitable activities.

The various charitable activities
Hamdard Foundation, the charitable educational trust, was formed in 1964, with an aim to distribute the profits made by the company to promote the interests of the society. All the profits incurred by the company go to this foundation. Hamdard Laboratories and Hamdard Foundation both played a major role in reviving and popularizing Unani medicine in India. The Jamia Hamdard University in Delhi is partly funded by this organization; the Majeedia Hospital, located in the university complex is also sponsored by this company.

The products offered
The products offered by Hamdard have become a household name in India today. Safi, the most popular amongst them is a herbal tonic that claims to be a blood purifier and is very useful for various types of skin problems. This is achieved by stimulating the system to eliminate the accumulated morbid and the harmful matter through the intestines, kidneys and skin and rectify their functions. Safi is also believed to relieve constipation, prevent and heal any boils on the skin, combat acne, pimples and other skin allergies and eruptions and epistaxis (bleeding from the nose). Cinkara is another herbal tonic that ‘quickly restores lost energy’ and is effective in enhancing appetite during a recovery from an illness or injury. Rooh Afza is a Sharbat or a sweet Sherbet that is a refreshing thirst quencher during hot summer months. Roghan Badam Shirin is a preparation from almond oil and Panchnol is a very tasty digestive tablet. Hamdard manufactures more than 450 Unani and Ayurvedic medicines.

Safi
As mentioned earlier, Safi is a herbal blood purifier that si very effective in healing all skin related disorders. Two teaspoons of safi can be consumed either directly or by mixing in a cup of milk of water preferably in the morning. For children the dosage varies according to age from 1/3rd teaspoon to ½ teaspoon. Safi is available in two packages – 175 ml bottle and 400 ml bottle.

The ingredients of Safi are
• Bauhinia variegata
• Canscora decussate
• Cassia angustifolia
• Chrozophora plicata
• Curcuma caesia
• Cuscuta reflexa
• Dalbergia sissoo
• Fumaria parviflora
• Ipomoea turpethum
• Lavandula stoechas
• Melia azadirachta
• Nymphaea lotus
• Ocimum canum
• Pterocarpus santalinus
• Rosa damascena
• Smilax china
• Sphaeranthus indicus
• Swertia chirata
• Tephrosia purpurea
• Terminalia chebula
• Tinospora cordifolia
• Syrup

The controversy
However, Safi has faced severe crticism in the recent years. In March 2005, a study conducetd by Health Canada reported that this herbal heath tonic contains very high arsenic levels – more than 40 times the maximum allowable concentration for drugs. Arsenic poisoning is extremely dangerous as it affcets the functioning of the liver, the bone marrow, the heart and central nervous system and causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, muscle pains, anemia and reduced motor nerve functions. Thus consumers are advised not to use this product.

6 comments:

Maria said...

we people of india and pakistan using this medicine from a long time. We found it very safe medicine as all ingredients are processed in a way which made it safe

pakistani said...

safi is a safe natural product. i ve used it and found best results... it v no side effects .this is a propaganda created against the popularity of safi by the west and allopathy promoters... such propaganda was also launched against homeopathy....

Pranav said...

read somewhere about high levels of arsenic........ is it true............. i am a regular user......... plz make a detailed report

Akbar Khan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Akbar Khan said...

AKBAR KHAN
I M TAKING SAFI WHEN I AM 12 YEARS OLD
IT IS ALSO TAKEN IN MY FAMILY THERE IS NO REACTION AND NOT SIDE EFFECT HAPPENS TO US SO ITS GOOD FOR ALL.

THEY DISCREDIT THE SAFI BECAUSE ITS YUNANI AND AYURVEDIC MEDECINE.

Internotional Tomes said...

This story arose in 2005 when Canadian and then UK authorities found arsenic levels in some seized bottles of Safi.
Further seizures did not repeat the findings so it is likely to have been a batch contamination of factory ingredients, as other products around this time were also affected.
The UK introduced tighter regulations and I can find no reports of problems with Safi after 2005.