Toxic acute hepatitis and hepatic fibrosis after consumption of chaparral tablets
ABSTRACT In this report we describe a young, previously healthy woman who developed severe acute hepatitis after consumption of chaparral tablets, a commonly used herbal product. In this case, the elimination-rechallenge event and the exclusion of other possible aetiologic factors strongly supported true causality between the herbal product and the liver damage. Primary liver biopsy showed severe toxic hepatitis consistent with previous reports of chaparral-induced liver damage. Later, 6 months after the liver function tests had normalized, permanent hepatic fibrosis could still be seen.
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ABSTRACT: In Mexico, local empirical knowledge about medicinal properties of plants is the basis for their use as home remedies. It is generally accepted by many people in Mexico and elsewhere in the world that beneficial medicinal effects can be obtained by ingesting plant products. In this review, we focus on the potential pharmacologic bases for herbal plant efficacy, but we also raise concerns about the safety of these agents, which have not been fully assessed. Although numerous randomized clinical trials of herbal medicines have been published and systematic reviews and meta-analyses of these studies are available, generalizations about the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines are clearly not possible. Recent publications have also highlighted the unintended consequences of herbal product use, including morbidity and mortality. It has been found that many phytochemicals have pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions with drugs. The present review is limited to some herbal medicines that are native or cultivated in Mexico and that have significant use. We discuss the cultural uses, phytochemistry, pharmacological, and toxicological properties of the following plant species: nopal (Opuntia ficus), peppermint (Mentha piperita), chaparral (Larrea divaricata), dandlion (Taraxacum officinale), mullein (Verbascum densiflorum), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), nettle or stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), linden flower (Tilia europea), and aloe (Aloe vera). We conclude that our knowledge of the therapeutic benefits and risks of some herbal medicines used in Mexico is still limited and efforts to elucidate them should be intensified.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 03/2008; 227(1):125-35. DOI:10.1016/j.taap.2007.10.005 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Herbal and dietary supplements (HDS) have been used for health-related purposes since more than 5000 years, and their application is firmly anchored in all societies worldwide. Over last decades, a remarkable renaissance in the use of HDS can be noticed in affluent societies for manifold reasons. HDS are forms of complementary and alternative medicines commonly used to prevent or treat diseases, or simply as a health tonic. Another growing indication for HDS is their alleged benefit for weight loss or to increase physical fitness. Access is easy via internet and mail-order pharmacies, and their turnover reaches billions of dollars in the USA and Europe alone. However, HDS are generally not categorized as drugs and thus less strictly regulated in most countries. As a result, scientific evidence proving their beneficial effects is mostly lacking, although some HDS may have purported benefits. However, the majority lacks such proof of value, and their use is predominantly based on belief and hope. In addition to missing scientific evidence supporting their use, HDS are typically prone to batch-to-batch variability in composition and concentration, contamination, and purposeful adulteration. Moreover, numerous examples of preparations emerged which have been linked to significant liver injury. These include single ingredients, such as kava, germander, and several Chinese herbals. Other HDS products associated with liver toxicity consist of multiple, often ill-defined ingredients, such as Hydroxycut and Herbalife. Affirmative diagnostic tests are not available, and the assessment of liver injury ascribed to HDS depends on a thorough and proactive medical history, careful exclusion of other causes, and a search for available reports on similar events linked to the intake of the suspected preparation or ingredients contained therein.Archive für Toxikologie 02/2015; 89(6). DOI:10.1007/s00204-015-1471-3 · 5.08 Impact Factor