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Daihuang ©Erich Stöger

Asari Herba, Xi xin

The Safety of Asarum – An Evaluation

Translated by Friederike Wunschik from an article in German published in Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur 54(2), 2011:47-50

Axel Wiebrecht

After the discovery in the 1990s that aristolochic acid (AA)-I and -II were associated with severe nephropathy and urothelial carcinoma, aristolochic acid was also found in Asarum species. However the amounts of both AA-I and AA-II found in officinal Asarum species are mostly very small and occasionally below the limit of detection (In comparison, non-officinal Asarum crispulatum contains high amounts of aristolochic acid). Because of the aristolochic acid content, both Switzerland and Germany banned the medicinal use of Asarum in 2010. The risk tolerance chosen is extremely low when compared to that of conventional drugs or everyday hazards. A total ban of Asarum seems disproportionate.

2004

FDA prohibits Ephedra in Supplements

From: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur 47(2), 2004, 54-56

On February 6 in 2004 the FDA published a ban on dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids, such as ephedrine or pseudo-ephedrine. This includes Ephedra (MA HUANG) as well as Pinellia ternata (BAN XIA) and Sida cordifolia, which is used in ayurvedic medicine and in Africa. The reason for the banning of Ephedra in the USA is the high numbers of reports of side-effects after using Ephedra, which in the USA is mainly used for weight loss and enhancing athletic performance.