Kidney Disease: Could Herbal Treatments Be The Cause?
In a new study, it’s been discovered that certain herbal medicines could be linked to kidney disease and some cancers. The results of the study have caused many users of traditional remedies to question whether they’re really doing the right thing by using them. In the early 1990’s, many cases of kidney disease were diagnosed in Belgium which were linked to Chinese herbal medicines offered at a weight loss clinic. The herbs come from a family known as Aristolochia, which are used for skin conditions and joint pain. The aristolochic acid that’s found in some of the herbs has been found to bind to DNA which can develop into kidney disease. It has also been discovered that it causes cancer in more concentrated areas, which explains why the cancers found are generally focussed in the urinary tract and kidneys.
The herbs containing aristolochic acid are banned in Europe and the United States due to the effect they have on the numbers of diagnoses. Due to this, the majority of cases of kidney disease linked to these herbs are usually found elsewhere in the world. In Chinese Taiwan, surveys have discovered that hundreds of thousands of people have been exposed to these herbs, though it’s hard to know how many cases of the disease are attributed to the herbs. In order to make a definitive decision on the cause, a more advanced analysis needs to take place to differentiate between other forms of kidney disease.
Scientists state that they’ve not done a thorough enough study yet, as the research collated has not been done so in a systematic manner. Treatment of AAN generally required dialysis or kidney transplants, so it’s important to determine if the kidney disease is linked to the aristolochic acid so that doctors can check for cancer cells, which is more common that kidney failure. If you think you may have symptoms of kidney failure, you should speak to your GP as soon as possible so that they can run checks.