Latest research shows traditional Chinese medicines may not be so herbal and natural after all.
Testing shows several Chinese medicinal products contain illegal and potentially toxic ingredients, including endangered animal species, mercury and arsenic.
Professor Sean Holt of Victoria University says they're products that are available in New Zealand.
He says what the ingredient list says is completely different to what's actually contained in the product.
"Some products from China have been labelled as traditional Chinese medicine but they've contain pharmaceutical drugs. For example Chinese herbal medicines for erectile dysfunction have been found to contain stray pharmaceutical viagra."
Mr Holt says he certainly wouldn't consume untested Chinese medicine himself.
He says despite a lack of knowledge about these products, they're becoming increasingly popular.
He says there's no quality control, and ingredient labels aren't telling the truth.
"Sometimes you just don't know what's in there. There can be dozens of things in there and some of them could be dangerous heavy metals."
Photo: Traditional Chinese medicine shop in Hong Kong (Wikipedia/Mailer Diablo)