Substantial data, questionable conclusions Commentary to a new study on liver injury caused by Chinese herbal medicines
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)