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Herbs and elevated liver enzymes

  Dear Doctor,
  I am a 51 year old woman who has been advised to try herbs for menopausal symptoms.  Specifically, **** quai which I take in a liquid extract form 3X a day (25 drops) and chaste berry, also in the extract form.  I was sceptical at first taking these herbs, but I must say they have helped my menopausal symptoms.  My question is can these herbs be in any way harmful or damaging to the liver? I have read that it is advisable for one to avoid chineese herbal preparations (which is what I believe **** quai is).  Can you give me any information on this.  Thank you so much in advance for taking the time to answer my question.
Dear Evelyn,
Only recently has western medicine started to examine the benefits of alternative therapies including Chineese herbal preparations.  Because reports of complications are anecdotal, we do not yet know the range of adverse effects.  I was unable to find any reports that **** quai causes liver disease, but I did review a number of articles describing liver damage after other Chineese herbal remeides.  Transmission of viral hepatitis, the presence of hepatotoxic agents in the preparations and the initiation of autoimmune hepatitis have all beeen reported as adverse effects of Chineese remedies.
This information is presented for educational purposes only.  Always consult your personal physician for specific medical questions.
*keywords: drug-induced hepatitis, natural remedies

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