A commonly used herbal remedy can cause kidney disease in up to 10 percent of the population

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Posted 13 May 2016

This article in Science Alert, reminds us that not all herbal supplements are harmless.

A whole lot of people use herbal remedies with the assumption that even if they don’t work, they’re not really doing any harm. But a new journal article offers a timely reminder that that’s not always the case. In fact, one of the most commonly used herbal remedies, Aristolochia (AKA birthwort or Dutchman’s pipe), has been shown to trigger kidney failure and cancer in roughly 5-10 percent of the population, who have a genetic susceptibility to one of its compounds.
“It took years of epidemiological and molecular research to demonstrate that Aristolochia, a widely used herbal remedy, causes cancer and kidney failure,”they add. “This and similar lessons should inspire more global efforts to properly investigate the safety and efficacy of all herbal treatments.”

Or as Richard Dawkins wrote in A Devil’s Chaplain: “There is no alternative medicine. There is only medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t work.”

Read the article at Science Alert

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