Can herbal medicines cause Kidney failure and Bladder Cancer

I came across a shocking research that some of the herbal medicines have the potential to cause Kidney failure and bladder cancer. Herewith i have given below the research details, the specific herbs that should not be consumed along with pictures and the Ayurvedic products that should be avoided. The research details are as below:

Research Details

Herbal medicines are being widely consumed by millions of people in India and China. Scientists found that some of the herbal medicines used for specific remedies like weight loss, arthritis, asthma contain an ingredient called Aristolochic acids. These substances have the potential to cause Aristolochic Acid Nephropathy (AAN), a type of Kidney failure.

These substances have been banned in US and many European countries. But widely and freely available in India and China. Also, they are freely available for online purchases.

The sad part is that many of the Ayurvedic and natural medicines that are prepared in India contain Aristolochic Acid (AA).

The issue today is that it is not known how many people are infected with this disease and is going unnoticed.

Is this Aristolochic Acid Nephropathy (AAN) disease New?

An epidemic of kidney disease had already broken out in Belgium in 1990 among women (called as Chinese Herb Nephropathy). The reason being the herbs that these people consumed for weight loss has contained Aristolochic Acid.

The most vital question – Do all herbal medicines contain the toxic Aristolochic acid?

All herbal medicines do not contain Aristolochic acid. Only a handful of the very specific herbs contain the acid. Only the herbs mentioned below contain the dangerous substance. Hence any product you buy from the market, if it contains the below mentioned Aristolochia species in any quantity, just abandon it.

Which herbs contain Aristolochic acid

  • Aristolochia species: Commonly called as birthworts, pipevines or Dutchman’s pipes
  • Aristolochia indica: It’s a creeper commonly called as Indian birthwort or Snakeroot, Garudakodi or Adagam or Easwaramooli in Tamil and Ishwari or Sunanda in Hindi
  • Aristolochia fangchi: Its also a creeper and called as Isvaramuli.
  • Aristolochia serpentaria
  • Mahavishagarbha Taila – Ayurvedic product sold in India
  • Gorocanadi Gutika – Ayurvedic product sold in India.

Remedies for which these herbs were used

  • The Aristolochia species were used since ancient times against snakebite
  • They were used by mothers immediately after childbirth since they have the potential to prevent infections postbirth.
  • These species have the ability to kill intestinal worms.
  • In some countries like China, these herbs are used as painkillers and anti-inflammatory agents against rheumatism.

What should we do?

If you are regular consumer of herbal medicines, do not panic. Common herbal medicines do not have the above toxic substances. Better confirm if the product you use has any herbal ingredient that belongs to the Aristolochia species. If yes, find alternative medicines that do not have such components.

When buying medicinal products look for ingredients like ‘Bragantia’ or ‘Asarum’ or ‘Aristolochia’. These substances have the potential to cause kidney failure. Hence don’t buy such products.

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