Chinese weed can kill
Traditional Chinese medicine should be equated with medicine and subjected to the same rigorous screening, British scientists believe. They described two cases where the seemingly harmless “weed” led to serious liver damage. As a result, even a transplant of a donor organ did not help one of the patients, and he died.
The attention of colleagues to the problem of uncontrolled use of Chinese herbs was drawn by specialists from the Newcastle upon Tyne Liver Research Center in an article published in the latest issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. According to one of the authors of the article, Dr. Margaret F. Bassendine, the problem is becoming more acute.
In the first case, which scientists said, a 31-woman received an infusion of Chinese roots to relieve joint pain. Soon, she developed jaundice, and her urine darkened.
Only after five weeks did she stop taking the medicine. Doctors could not detect signs of viral hepatitis, she was injected with antibodies, after which the patient fully recovered.
In another case, a Chinese drug was prescribed to a 32-year-old man for benign adipose tissue tumors. He completely took a course of nine doses of the drug, despite the fact that he felt bad. He also developed jaundice and dark urine, and his condition worsened. He received a donor liver transplant, but two weeks later the patient died of infection.
“Doctors and society should be careful about the possible side effects of all herbal preparations that are widely used without evidence of their effectiveness in conditions such as asthma,” British scientists say in their article. They added that while studying the literature, another 29 cases of hepatitis associated with traditional Chinese medicine were discovered.