About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Millions of People in Asia Potentially Exposed to Health Risks of Popular Herbal Medicines: Scientists

by Rukmani Krishna on March 19, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Font : A-A+

 Millions of People in Asia Potentially Exposed to Health Risks of Popular Herbal Medicines: Scientists

Millions of people may be exposed to risk of developing kidney failure and bladder cancer by taking herbal medicines that are widely available in Asia, warns scientists from King's College London. The medicines are used for a wide range of conditions including slimming, asthma and arthritis. They are derived from a botanical compound containing aristolochic acids. These products are now banned in the USA and many European countries but the herbs containing this toxic acid can still be bought in China and other countries in Asia and are also available worldwide over the internet.

The scientists reviewed worldwide cases of aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN) - a type of kidney failure caused by the intake of these acids. They explain the clinical basis for the disease and propose strategies to help doctors identify it and treat patients more effectively. They suggest that there may be many thousands of cases across Asia that are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. With the outcome of their study, the researchers hope to raise awareness of the risks of aristolochic acids and reduce the global disease burden from this severe condition.

Advertisement

Lead author Professor Graham Lord, Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London, said: 'We have found evidence that many millions of people continue to be exposed to significant health risk due to these herbal medicines, widely used in China and India.' He added: 'There is also a striking lack of good quality evidence that might help guide the diagnosis and management of AAN.'

The paper, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, indicates that regulatory measures that have so far been adopted by national and international agencies may be inadequate in preventing harmful exposure to aristolochic acid. The compound is linked to many cases of kidney diseases and urothelial cancer, a form of cancer of which bladder cancer is the most known variant.
Advertisement

The authors reviewed the latest data on the epidemiology of AAN. They used several search engines to include all publications that are about or refer to aristolochic acid and Chinese herbal nephropathy and identified 42 different case studies and one trial relating to the management of the disease.

While explaining the origin and development of the disease, they propose a protocol which should make it easier to diagnose AAN. In addition, they suggest a new disease classification to help international clinicians better identify AAN patients, and draft guidelines for the treatment of these patients.

The research team consisted of an international collaboration of scientists from Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany and the UK. Dr Refik Gökmen, co-author from King's, said: 'This research is a great demonstration of how international scientific collaboration is vital in helping to describe how a toxin used in widely available products can lead to cancer.'

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
First-Ever Successful Pig-To-Human Kidney Transplantation
World Osteoporosis Day 2021 -
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Saint Johns Wort High Blood Pressure and Herbs Acai Berry - Does It Really Work? Home Grown Herbs for Holistic Nutrition Health Insurance - India 

Recommended Reading
Beware of Herbal Medicines
Experts have issued a warning that herbal medicines if consumed in large quantities, injected, or .....
Knowledge of Herbal Medicines Poor Among Doctors, Patients Alike
Doctors are as poorly informed as they think their patients are on the subject of herbal medicines....
Herbal Medicines and Safety Labels
A new research published in the journal BMC Medicine has revealed that some herbal medicines do not ...
Acai Berry - Does It Really Work?
Although acai berry is a nutritious food, it is the hype that is wrongly making it a magic fruit....
Health Insurance - India
Health insurance has emerged as one of the fastest growing segments in the non-life insurance indust...
High Blood Pressure and Herbs
Drug intervention need not be the only option to help lower your moderately high blood pressure. Lif...
Home Grown Herbs for Holistic Nutrition
Creating a little kitchen garden at home is an immensely fulfilling way to incorporate healing herbs...
Saint Johns Wort
Saint John''s Wort is a medicinal herb. It has been used for centuries to treat depression....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use