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Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) is a herbal product I regularly use. I will be travelling (only transiting) via London and then USA on my way to Peru soon. Does anyone know if this is banned/illegal in UK and USA? Can my bag be held up if this is found?

  • For the UK, you can check gov.uk/government/publications/… As for whether your bag can be held up if it’s found, well I’d say the chances are pretty high it would be (and it’s owner, I imagine). Is it legal to import into Peru? – Traveller Feb 16 at 15:42
  • For the US, here's the general link from US customs about herbal medicines (which includes herbs): help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1217/~/… . Since it is a plant product, additional research will be needed for that angle. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Feb 16 at 16:14
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    Are you traveling with tea, capsules, or the unprocessed plant? – Michael Hampton Feb 16 at 19:33
  • @Traveller, thanks for the UK link. I do not see it listed there. I tried all the alternate and scientific names. I am not sure about Peru yet. – Ramesh B Feb 17 at 3:34
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas, thanks for the US link. I also see that Ashwagandha is available for purchase on Amazon.com in the USA. I am assuming this is a good indicator of it's legality in that country? – Ramesh B Feb 17 at 3:36
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First of all, to quote Wikipedia "there is no conclusive clinical evidence that it is effective for treating any ailment" and it's completely unregulated.

USA: Can I travel with non-prescription medicines, or other products such as vitamins and health supplements?

Non-prescription medicines (also known as over-the-counter or OTC medicines), vitamins, herbs, and supplement products fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In general FDA will not object to the personal importation of those products, as long as:

  • The traveler is carrying the products in their possession (or in their luggage);

  • The amount being carried is an amount reasonably considered for personal use.

How do airports differentiate supplements from drugs? is at interesting on this topic.

The UK is harder but if you review Personal food, plant and animal product imports there's nothing in there that would limit you so the final exemption would apply: any other food product not containing any fresh or processed meat or dairy and with less than 50% of processed egg or fishery products.

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