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Hepatitis associated with Chinese herbs

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kaushik Agarwal, Professor Margaret Bassendine


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Traditional Chinese herbal medicines are widely available in Western society and are popular as a form of 'natural' alternative medicine. Their use is increasing, as they are perceived to be free of side effects, but they remain largely unregulated. We describe two patients who suffered severe hepatitis, one of whom died, after taking Chinese herbal remedies for minor complaints. We also review the English-language literature on hepatitis associated with Chinese herbs. Two products appear to be implicated frequently: Jin bu huan was taken by 11 patients, and Dictamnus dasycarpus was taken by six patients, including both fatal cases. It is difficult to provide conclusive evidence of what caused hepatitis, as these products are mixtures that may contain adulterants. These cases highlight not only the potential dangers of these products to consumers but also the need for greater control of their manufacture and use. (C) 2002 Lippincott Williams Wilkins.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Agarwal K; Bassendine MF; McRae CA; Mutimer D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Year: 2002

Volume: 14

Issue: 5

Pages: 559-562

ISSN (print): 0954-691X

ISSN (electronic): 1473-5687

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1097/00042737-200205000-00015


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