Anything that is hard to get or expensive is likely to be counterfeited, and herbal or alternative therapies are not exempt.

A material that is likely to be counterfeited:

(1) expensive

(2) hard to find, in limited supply

(3) collection or trade illegal or restricted (like rhinoceros horn)


Without quantitative methods it may be difficult to detect:

(1) substitution of a plant from one region for a plant from another region

(2) dilution


Detection may be achieved with a number of methods such as:

(1) DNA microarrays, which allows identification of the fingerprint or barcode of a plant

(2) NMR spectroscopy

(3) isotope analysis may help to identify region of origin


A person who engages in one kind of fraud may engage in others, such as product adulteration.

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