The herb germander is a dramatic counterexample to the widely held belief that if a treatment has been used for thousands of years, it must be safe. Germander grows wild in the Mediterranean region, especially in Greece and Syria. It has a long tradition of use for ]]>gout]]> , as well as febrile illnesses, ]]>asthma]]> , coughs, ]]>depression]]> , and ]]>congestive heart failure]]> . It was also said to improve digestion and increase appetite. What traditional herbalists appear to have missed is that germander is toxic to the liver.

In the 1980s, germander became a popular treatment for weight control in France. A small epidemic of hepatitis was the result. ]]>1-12]]> Subsequent research demonstrated conclusively that the herb is toxic to the liver but has not precisely identified the constituents at fault. ]]>13-18]]> Problems have also occurred when products labelled as containing ]]>skullcap]]> have turned out to contain germander instead. ]]>19]]>

Germander was subsequently banned in France and many other countries. Unfortunately, numerous websites continue to promote the use of this herb. We recommend avoiding germander entirely.