TABLE 69.3 Potentially Toxic Herbs

Herbal Preparation Type of Toxicity

Aristolochia Bloodroot Chaparral tea Coltsfoot tea Comfrey tea Ephedra (ma huang)


Pennyroyal Sassafras (safrole) tea Yohimbe

Nephrotoxicity General toxicity Liver toxicity

Possible carcinogen, liver toxicity Liver toxicity

Arrhythmias, stroke, elevated blood pressure

Nervous system toxicity, respiratory paralysis CNS stimulation Carcinogen

CNS stimulation, psychosis labeling system with a supplement facts panel that is being gradually adopted by the industry. Future legislation may further tighten the quite lax U. S. regulatory environment. Unsafe herbs (Table 69.3) also will be increasingly restricted.

The European system differs from that of the United States in that the manufacture of the more pharmacologically active herbs is for the most part regulated and is much more widely accepted by the medical community. Many health care providers routinely prescribe herbal treatments either alongside or in place of more conventional medications. The German government's Commission E publishes a set of herbal monographs that not only officially sets the standard for that country but has also become a widely respected clinical reference throughout the world.

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