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This study contains unprecedented data for evaluating the hepatotoxic risk of Chinese herbal medicines. However, many of the assessments made in the publication do not hold up. It is a pity that the differential diagnoses of the liver injuries were executed so incompletely that a more precise causality assessment was not achievable. So, from the documented facts, only 2 cases of liver injury can be assessed as being probably associated with Chinese decoctions.

 *Slightly edited version of an article from Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur 2016;59(4): 33-35. 

Translated by Dough Chick

Rolf Teschke has written several articles in international journals on the alleged hepatotoxicity of Chinese herbal medicines. Teschke often exhibited as a critical scientist who has demanded a careful assessment of causality in cases of suspected drug-induced liver injury. However, in the case of Chinese herbal medicines all principles are forgotten. A review which claims an established hepato­toxicity by means of the CIOMS scale for 28 of 57 herbs or herbal mixtures is partly based on scienti­fically worthless case reports and insupportable causality statements.

With medicinal drugs containing Aristolochia banned in many countries all around the world, including China and Taiwan, the Aristolochia-issue should be settled by now. Alas, still a few wrong notions, or a lack of information, towards this problem keep on circulating in the world of TCM.

A comment to the article by Chris Dhaenens 2013, from the Center for Safety of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CTCA) (translated by Angelica Dawson)