In 2011, $1.2 billion was spent on complementary and alternative medicines in Australia, many of which come with unproven efficacy claims. There is a real danger associated with the use of herbal medicine: adulteration, presence of illegal species, incorrect labelling or unknown pharmacologic activity.
Dr Garth Maker uses a range of techniques to determine the components of traditional Chinese medicines and has discovered an alarming level of non-compliance in herbal remedy suppliers. According to his findings, 92% of the herbal treatments analysed have had some form of contamination or substitution, including undeclared pharmaceutical agents such as warfarin. It is his goal to see stricter rules placed upon herbal medicines to better protect consumers.
Garth has been very active in speaking about his research, on local and national radio, television, print, and online. He is also regularly involved in university Open Days, student workshops and Science and Engineering Summer School.