Intended for healthcare professionals


Chinese herb may cause cancer

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 17 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1623

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Scott Gottlieb
  1. New York

    Doctors in Belgium have discovered that a Chinese herb, Aristolochia fangchi, already linked to kidney failure, may cause cancer as well.

    Patients at a Belgian weight loss clinic were given this herb in error. Staff at the clinic had prescribed the herb Stephania tetrandra, but the pills that patients received also included aristolochia, possibly because of a manufacturing error. On average, the patients took the two herbs for about a year.

    Of the patients who accidentally received the herb, 18 developed cancers of the urinary system, according to the report. …

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