A study says that herbal medicines are not necessarily safe

May 4, 2016 | | Say something


Overturning a common perception that herbs are safe because they have been used for many years, researchers have warned that long-term use of herbal medicines does not guarantee your safety, as many herbs can contain toxic or carcinogenic substances. In a commentary published in the journal EMBO reports, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Stony Brook discussed scientific evidence that the plant Aristolochia can cause aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). People with this condition experience interstitial nephritis, kidney failure and urinary tract cancers.

In Taiwan, according to the national database prescription between 1997 and 2003, drugs eight million people were exposed to herbal products containing Aristolochia, the authors commented. Studies of patients with renal failure and cancer in Taiwan and China show that tens of millions of people in these countries are at risk of AAN. In genetically susceptible people, consuming Aristolochia can lead to complex formation between aristolactam, a compound Aristolachia, and DNA in kidney tissues. (Read: Memory Expansion with this common herb )

These complexes lead to mutations in the tumor suppressor gene TP53, which in turn initiate the process towards kidney cancer. Additional studies have shown that this process can also lead to the development of liver cancer and bladder, researchers Donald Marcus, professor emeritus of Baylor and Arthur Grollman, distinguished professor of pharmacological sciences at Stony Brook University, he said. Although Aristolochia has been used as an herbal remedy for over 2,000 years, “the intrinsic toxic effects were not recognized, due in large part to the latency period between exposure and the onset of symptomatic disease, and, in part, the genetic determinants that susceptibility confer only about five percent of those exposed to this herb ‘, the authors said. the long-term scientific study of the AAN revealed the association of the disease with Aristolochia.

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‘the story of Aristolachia indicates that other herbs that have been used for a long time may also have toxic and / or carcinogenic compounds, the authors said. “it is prudent to assume that many herbs can contain toxic or carcinogenic substances that can cause health problems subsequent to humans, “they said. Other products herbal and traditional medicines are responsible for serious adverse events in Africa and Asia, but in these cases there is a lack of epidemiological data, the researchers suggest that herbal remedies can be a danger to world health is overlooked. (Read: 5 remedies herbal to prevent gum disease )

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Source: IANS

Photo source: Getty images (image for only for representation)

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Posted in: Diseases & Conditions, Herbal remedies

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