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Col's dad in 'illegal' tea probe.

Byline: By NIALL DONALD

THE HEALTH food shop run by Colin Farrell's dad is under investigation over claims it sold a Chinese herb illegally.

The bad-boy actor's father Eamonn is the owner of a health store Down to Earth in Dublin.

The shop, on George's Street, sells teabags made from the Ginkgo leaf. The shop is co-owned by Eamonn and his business partner Jack Irwin.

In 2000, new regulations on the sale of Gingko were made law because of fears of side-effects.

But last week, our reporter was able to buy a box of 20 Vitax Ginkgo Tea Bags for EUR4.75 in the city centre shop.

A shop-worker told our undercover reporter health shops are not allowed to sell Gingko in tablet form. He said: "It's on prescription only.

"If you go to the doctor you can get a prescription for it - if he even knows about it."

But yesterday - in a claim later denied by the Irish Medical Board (IMB) - Jack Irwin said it was legal to sell the teabags.

He claimed: "It can be sold, I believe, according to the Government and the Department of Health, in herbal form."

But yesterday, the IMB said the herb should only be sold on prescription.

A spokesman added: "Ginkgo Biloba is a prescription-only substance it should not be available for sale except on foot of a prescription from a medical doctor."

Herbalists claim the Chinese plant aids blood circulation and can improve memory.

Irish Association of Health Stores spokesman Jill Bell said the herb was a best-seller in the UK.

CAPTION(S):

Bad-boy... Colin Farrell; Ginkgo Biloba teabags
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 13, 2007
Words:268
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