|front |1 |2 |3 |4 |5 |6 |7 |8 |9 |10 |11 |12 |13 |14 |15 |16 |17 |18 |19 |20 |21 |22 |23 |review|
hundreds of Chinese herbal formulas have been appended to English textbooks and manuals
written on the subject matter (e.g., Fan, 1996; Liu and Deng, 1999; Molony, 1998; Tierra,
1998). These formulas have been provided for treatment of common diseases specific to the
various body organs and the circulation. Many of these herbal remedies have been
formulated in accordance to the concept of body homeostasis, of which the control and
regulation are said to be best governed by holistic theories and elements that are
fundamental to traditional Chinese medicine.
In spite of their highly acclaimed therapeutic functions, numerous cases of toxic reactions specific to the various body organs have been reportedly linked to the use of Chinese herbal medicines per se. Many of these cases have been summarized elsewhere (e.g., Blackwell, 1996; Wong, 2001a).
More than 50 cases of kidney damage in Belgium have been linked to the use of slimming capsules that were formulated with the addition of certain Chinese herbs (Vanherweghem et al., 1993). In the U.K., several cases have been noted in which patients became clinically ill with liver problems after taking certain Chinese herbs for the treatment of skin disorders. The first of these cases was published in The Lancet a decade ago (Perharic-Walton and Murray, 1992). One similar case was reported from New Zealand two years later (Pillans et al., 1994). Acute hepatitis has also been reportedly linked to some Chinese herbal products used as a remedy for eczema or psoriasis (Shad et al., 1999; Woolf et al., 1994).