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Herbal compounds increases the risk of kidney failure, cancer

New Delhi, Tue, 10 Apr 2012 NI Wire

Aristolochic acid (AA), an herbal compound which is common ingredient of herbal remedies since ages, is one of the prime causes of kidney failure and upper urinary tract cancer (UUC).

Arthur Grollman, professor of pharmacological sciences, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and a team of scientists conducted this study on 151 UUC patients in Taiwan and reached at the conclusion that exposure to AA is a primary causes of UUC in Taiwan, where this disease is most prevalent in the world.

The conclusions of this study has a great bearing on global public health, as individuals treated with herbal preparations available worldwide that contain Aristolochia are more likely to develop chronic kidney disease or UUC, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science reports.

"We believe our latest research highlights the importance of a long-overlooked disease that affects many individuals in Taiwan, and, by extension, in China and other countries worldwide, where Aristolochia herbal remedies traditionally have been used for medicinal purposes," Grollman has been quoted as saying.

US health department has identified Aristolochic acid as a potential nephrotoxin and human carcinogen associated with chronic kidney disease and UUC, says a Stony Brook statement.

--with inputs from IANS

The dual toxicities and target tissues were identified when a group of healthy Belgian women contracted renal failure and UUC after ingesting Aristolochia herbs in the course of their weight loss programmer. Other cases of aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN) and UUC were reported from the different regions of the world.

Lately, Grollman and his team proved AA to be the causative agent of endemic nephropathy in the Balkans, that offers a 50-year-old medical puzzle that indicates to the ingestion of Aristolochia clematitis, or birthwort, an ingredient of wheat.

Banking on their previous work on the Balkans, Grollman and colleagues focused on other areas where Aristolochia might be consumed and in which there was a great number of kidney disease and UUC. Taiwan exhibit exactly that connection.

--with inputs from IANS

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