Schwabe News Volume 4 | Issue 3 | March 2013
Some herbal medicines cautioned to cause kidney failure, bladder cancer
Scientists from King’s College London have claimed that many herbal medicines used for a wide range of conditions including slimming, asthma and arthritis are derived from a botanical compound containing aristolochic acids. The scientists reviewed worldwide cases of aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN), a type of kidney failure caused by the intake of these acids. They suggest 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. “We do know that preparations containing aristolochic acid (AA) are widely used in India and that this is associated with chronic kidney disease and kidney cancer if a sufficient dose is taken,” lead author Professor Graham Lord was quoted as saying.
A quick literature search has found that drugs like Aristolochia clematitis, Aristolochia serpentaria, Asarum canadense, Asarum europaeum and others contain aristolochic acids. The harmful effects reported in high crude doses are not normally found in patients treated with these homoeopathic drugs which are usually used in diluted potencies. The concept of homoeopathy originated with reducing toxicity by diluting and potentising the toxic substances. The above news of herbal medicine does not cover homoeopathy in which even the snake venoms (e.g. Lachesis) are used as homoeopathic medicine in high doses.