General adverse effects

Modern Ayurveda

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Several reviews have focused on herbal medicines and have covered:

• the toxicity of medicinal plants (32-34);

• the safety of herbal products in general (35-46);

• adverse effects in specific countries, for example the USA (47) and Malaysia (48);

• adverse effects on specific organs (49), such as the cardiovascular system (50), the liver (51,52), and the skin (53,54);

• the safety of herbal medicines in vulnerable populations: elderly patients (55), pregnant women (56), and surgical patients (57,58);

• the adverse effects of herbal antidepressants (60);

• the adverse effects of Chinese herbal medicaments (61,62);

• the adverse effects of Ayurvedic medicines (63);

• pharmacovigilance of herbal medicines (76).

Direct effects associated with herbal medicines can occur in several ways:

• hypersusceptibility reactions

• collateral reactions

• toxic reactions

drug interactions

• contamination

• false authentication

• lack of quality control.

Some of these effects relate to product quality. While there are some data on certain of these aspects, information on other aspects is almost entirely lacking. For example, there are isolated case reports of interactions between conventional medicines and complementary (usually herbal) remedies (23,77,78), although further information is largely theoretical (79).

Even a perfectly safe remedy (mainstream or unorthodox) can become unsafe when used incompetently. Medical competence can be defined as doing everything in the best interest of the patient according to the best available evidence. There are numerous circumstances, both in orthodox and complementary medicine, when competence is jeopardized:

• missed diagnosis

• misdiagnosis

• disregarding contraindications

• preventing/delaying more effective treatments (for example misinformation about effective therapies; loss of herd immunity through a negative attitude toward immunization)

• clinical deterioration not diagnosed

• adverse reaction not diagnosed

• discontinuation of prescribed drugs

• self-medication.

The attitude of consumers toward herbal medicines can also constitute a risk. When 515 users of herbal remedies were interviewed about their behavior vis a vis adverse effects of herbal versus synthetic over-the-counter drugs, a clear difference emerged. While 26% would consult their doctor for a serious adverse effect of a synthetic medication, only 0.8% would do the same in relation to herbal remedies (80).

The only way to minimize incompetence is by proper education and training, combined with responsible regulatory control. While training and control are self-evident features of mainstream medicine they are often not fully incorporated in complementary medicine. Thus the issue of indirect health risk is particularly pertinent to complementary medicine. Whenever complementary practitioners take full responsibility for a patient, this should be matched with full medical competence; if on the other hand, competence is not demonstrably complete, the practitioner in question should not assume full responsibility (81).

Asian herbalism

Most reports of adverse effects associated with herbal remedies relate to Chinese herbal medicines (82). This is an issue of growing concern, particularly because in many Western countries the popularity of Chinese herbalism is increasing. This is happening in the almost complete absence of governmental control (83) or of systematic research into the potential hazards of Chinese herbal formulations (84).

There have been several reports of adverse effects associated with Asian herbal formulations (85-105). Most of the serious adverse effects of Chinese herbal remedies are associated with formulations containing aco-nitine, anticholinergic compounds, aristolochic acid, or podophyllin, contaminating substances (106). Problems with Chinese herbal formulations are intensified because of nomenclature, since common, botanical, and Chinese names exist side by side, making confusion likely.

In a German hospital specializing in Chinese herbalism of 145 patients who had been treated within 1 year 53% reported having had at least one adverse effect attributable to Chinese herbal medicines (107). Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea were the most common complaints. It should be noted that causality in these cases can only be suspected and not proven. In the same institution about 1% of 1507 consecutive patients treated with Chinese herbal mixtures had clinically relevant rises in liver enzymes (108,109). Glycyrrhiza radix and Atractylodis macro-cephalae rhizome were most consistently associated with such problems. In most of these cases there were no associated clinical signs and the abnormalities tended to normalize without specific therapy and in spite of continued treatment with the Chinese herbal mixtures.

When 1100 Australian practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine were asked to complete questionnaires about the adverse effects of Chinese herbal mixtures, they reported 860 adverse events, including 19 deaths (110). It was calculated that each practitioner had encountered an average of 1.4 adverse events during each year of full-time practice.

A physician prospectively monitored all 1265 patients taking traditional Chinese medicines at his clinic during 33 months (111). Liver enzymes were measured before the start of therapy and 3 and 10 weeks later. Alanine transaminase activity was raised in 107 patients (8.5%) who initially had normal values. Of these patients, about 25% reported symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, looseness of bowels, loss of appetite, or fatigue.

A retrospective analysis of all adverse events related to herbal medicines and dietary supplements reported to the California Poison Control System has given data on the risks of the adverse effects of herbal medicines (112). Between January 1997 and June 1998, 918 calls relating to such supplements were received. Exposures resulting in adverse reactions occurred most often at recommended doses. There were 233 adverse events, of which 29% occurred in children. The products most frequently implicated were zinc (38%), Echinacea (8%), witch hazel (6%), and chromium picolinate (6%). Most of the adverse events were not severe and required no treatment; hospi-talization was required in only three cases.

Quality control and purity of herbal products

Quality control for herbal medicaments that are sold as dietary supplements in most countries is poor (113,114). Thus, considerable variations in the contents of active ingredients have been reported, with lot-to-lot variations of up to 1000% (115). In most countries, the sale and supply of herbal remedies is to a large extent uncontrolled and unregulated; most herbal remedies are sold as unlicensed food supplements and their safety, efficacy, and quality have therefore not been assessed by licensing authorities. Adulteration and contamination of herbal remedies with other plant material and conventional drugs have been documented (25,116) (Table 1).

Table 1 Potential adulterants that should be taken into account in the quality control of herbal medicines

Type of adulterant Examples

Allopathic drugs


Fumigation agents

Heavy metals Micro-organisms

Microbial toxins Pesticides

Analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents (for example aminophenazone, indometacin, phenylbutazone), benzodiazepines, glucocorticoids, sulfonylureas, thiazide diuretics, thyroid hormones Atropa belladonna, Digitalis species, Colchicum, Rauwolfia serpentina, pyrrolizidine-containing plants (see separate monograph on pyrrolizidines) Ethylene oxide, methyl bromide, phosphine Arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury Escherichia coli (certain strains), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella, Shigella, Staphylococcus aureus

Aflatoxins, bacterial endotoxins Carbamate insecticides and herbicides, chlorinated pesticides (for example aldrin, dieldrin, heptachlor, DDT, DDE, HCB, HCH isomers), dithiocarbamate fungicides, organic phosphates, triazine herbicides



1I, 90Sr

The authors of a survey of German importers of Chinese herbs concluded that "only rarely'' had herbal drugs to be returned because of contamination (117). The authors also stated that "a 100% check for all possible contaminants is not possible.'' However, there have been many reports of adulteration and contamination relate to Chinese herbal remedies (118). Instances include adulteration/contamination with conventional drugs (119,120), heavy metals (121-127), and other substances (128,129).

When 27 samples of commercially available camomile formulations were tested in Brazil, it was found that all of them contained adulterants and only 50% had the essential oils needed to produce anti-inflammatory activity (130).

Concerns about the quality and safety of herbal remedies are justified, and there have been repeated calls for greater control and regulation (28,131,132).

Adulteration with allopathic drugs Barbiturates

Phenobarbital has been reported as a contaminant in a Chinese patent medicine (133).

• A 10-year-old boy developed respiratory depression and became comatose after taking the Chinese patent medicine "Diankexing'' for 6 months. His urine phenobarbital concentration was 95 mg/ml (target range 20-40 mg/ml). The remedy was withdrawn and he was successfully treated with activated charcoal.


The Botanical Lab in the USA has manufactured the herbal medicines PC-SPES and SPES (134). These two products are marketed as "herbal dietary supplements'' for "prostate health'' and for "strengthening the immune system'' respectively. They are sold through the internet, by mail order, by phone order, and through various distributors and health care professionals. An analytical report from the California Department of Health in 2002 showed that samples of PC-SPES and SPES have been contaminated with alprazolam and warfarin. The Canadian Medicines Regulatory Authority also reported similar contaminations. In view of these reports Health Canada, the Irish Medicines Board, and the State Health Director of California all warned consumers to stop using these two products immediately and to consult their healthcare practitioners. Botanic Lab also informed consumers of these laboratory findings and issued a product recall of all lots of PC-SPES, pending further reports from additional testing of PC-SPES in both commercial and academic laboratories.

In 2001 the California State Health Director warned consumers to stop using the herbal product Anso Comfort capsules immediately, because the product contains the undeclared prescription drug chlordiazep-oxide. Chlordiazepoxide is a benzodiazepine that is used for anxiety and as a sedative and can be dangerous if not taken under medical supervision (135). Anso Comfort capsules, available by mail or telephone order from the distributor in 60-capsule bottles, were clear with dark green powder inside. The label was yellow with green English printing and a picture of a plant. An investigation by the California Department of Health Services Food and Drug Branch and Food and Drug Laboratory showed that the product contained chlordia-zepoxide. The ingredients for the product were imported from China and the capsules were manufactured in California. Advertising for the product claimed that the capsules were useful for the treatment of a wide variety of illnesses, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol, in addition to claims that it was a natural herbal dietary supplement. The advertising also claimed that the product contained only Chinese herbal ingredients and that consumers could reduce or stop their need for prescribed medicines. No clear medical evidence supported any of these claims. The distributor, NuMeridian (formerly known as Top Line Project), voluntarily recalled the product nationwide.

A San Francisco woman with a history of diabetes and high blood pressure was hospitalized in January 2001 with life-threatening hypoglycemia after she consumed Anso Comfort capsules. This may have been due to an interaction of chlordiazepoxide with other unspecified medications that she was taking.


Wau Wa cream is marketed in several countries as a herbal cream for eczema. After repeatedly observing surprising therapeutic successes, UK doctors analysed three samples of this cream given to them by three patients (136). The samples contained 0.013% clobetasol propionate, a powerful glucocorticoid that does not occur naturally.

Betamethasone, 0.1-0.3 mg per capsule, has been detected in Cheng Kum and Shen Loon, two herbal medicines that are popular for their benefits in joint pain, skin

Cs, Ru problems, colds, menopausal symptoms, and dysmenorrhea (137). Over-exposure to betamethasone can result in typical signs of glucocorticoid excess, such as moon face, hypertension, easy bruising, purple abdominal striae, truncal obesity, and hirsutism. The recommended daily adult dose of Cheng Kum is 1-3 capsules per day, and there have been reports of glucocorticoid-induced adverse effects in patients taking Cheng Kum and Shen Loon, even in the absence of other exogenous corticosteroid consumption.

• Two patients, a 29-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl, developed Cushingoid features after taking Shen Loon for 4 and 5 months respectively (138). Their morning plasma cortisol concentrations were increased and adrenal suppression was confirmed by a short Synacthen test. Both recovered after withdrawal of the remedy and treatment with prednisone.

The New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe) has notified that the further importation of these herbal products into New Zealand will be stopped at Customs. However, because of the risk of adrenal suppression from glucocorticoid, consumers have been sent a letter advising them against abruptly discontinuing these products. They should continue with the treatment and see their general practitioner as soon as possible for instructions on how they can be safely weaned off the product. Medsafe has issued a letter to doctors advising them to determine whether patients taking Cheng Kum or Shen Loon are at risk of adrenal suppression by estimating the potential total dose of glu-cocorticoid (from Cheng Kum or Shen Loon plus any exogenous steroids) and the duration of use, by examining the patient for signs of glucocorticoid excess, and by ascertaining if other risk factors for adrenal suppression are present (such as Addison's disease and AIDS).

Hypoglycemic drugs

Herbal medicines, particularly Chinese ones, are sometimes contaminated with conventional synthetic drugs (139). In 2000 the California Department of Health Services Food and Drug Branch issued a warning to consumers that they should immediately stop using five herbal products because they contained two prescription drugs that were not listed as ingredients and that are unsafe without monitoring by a physician (140). The products were Diabetes Hypoglucose Capsules, Pearl Hypoglycemic Capsules, Tongyi Tang Diabetes Angel Pearl Hypoglycemic Capsules, Tongyi Tang Diabetes Angel Hypoglycemic Capsules, and Zhen Qi Capsules. The products were available by mail order and could be purchased by telephone or via the Internet. Their manufacturers claimed that they contained only natural Chinese herbal ingredients. However, after a diabetic patient in Northern California had had several episodes of hypoglycemia after taking Diabetes Hypoglucose Capsules, an investigation by the Department showed that they contain the antidiabetic drugs glibenclamide (glyburide) and phenformin.


Penicillamine unexpectedly caused myasthenia gravis when present as an unrecognized additive in Chinese herbs (141).


A systematic review included 18 case reports, two case series, and four analytical studies showing adulteration with various allopathic drugs (142). The adulterants included phenazone (aminopyrine), clobetasol propionate and other glucocorticoids, diazepam, diclofenac, glibenclamide, hydro-chlorothiazide, indometacin, mefenamic acid, methylsalicy-late, phenacetin, phenylbutazone, and phenytoin.

In 2002 the Medicines Safety Authority of the Ministry of Health in New Zealand (Medsafe) ordered the withdrawal of several traditional Chinese medicines sold as herbal remedies, since they contained scheduled medicines and toxic substances (143). The products included the following allopathic drugs:

• Wei Ge Wang tablets, which contained sildenafil

• Sang Ju Gan Mao Pian tablets, which contained diclo-fenac and chlorphenamine

• Yen Qiao Jie Du Pian capsules, which contained chlor-phenamine, diclofenac, and paracetamol

• Xiaoke Wan pills, which contained glibenclamide

• Shuen Feng cream, which contained ketoconazole

• Dezhong Rhinitis drops, which contained ephedrine hydrochloride.

The New Zealand Director General of Health issued a Public Statement asking people to stop taking these products and to seek medical advice. Medsafe asked all importers and distributors of traditional Chinese medicines to cease all distribution and sale of these products, to withdraw them from retail outlets, and to ensure that other products they sell do not contain scheduled medicines.

Adulteration with botanicals

Two cases have been reported of contamination of plantain (a plant of the genus Plantago) by Digitalis lanata (144). Both patients suffered from serious overdose of cardiac glycosides with toxic serum digoxin concentrations as a result.

Adulteration with heavy metals

In 2002 the Medicines Safety Authority of the Ministry of Health in New Zealand (Medsafe) ordered the withdrawal of several traditional Chinese medicines sold as herbal remedies, since they contained scheduled medicines and toxic substances (143). The products included Niu Huang Jie Du Pian tablets, which contain 4% arsenic.

In Taipei, 319 children aged 1-7 years were screened for increased blood lead concentrations (145). The consumption of Chinese herbal medicines was significantly correlated with blood lead concentrations. In 2803 subjects from Taipei a history of herbal drug taking proved to be a major risk factor for increased blood lead concentrations (146).

• A 56-year-old woman developed the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning after taking an Indian herbal medicine for many years (147). Her blood and urine lead concentrations were 1530 ng/ml and 4785 mg/day. She also had raised liver enzymes. After withdrawal of the remedy and treatment with penicillamine, she made a full recovery.

• Czech doctors reported the case of a 26-year-old woman who had taken an Ayurvedic remedy (Astrum FE Femikalp) for sterility (148). It contained lead 113 mg/kg. Her blood lead concentration was raised and normalized 1 month after withdrawal of the remedy. Lead poisoning was also confirmed by hair analysis.

Of 260 Asian patent medicines available in California, 7% contained undeclared pharmaceuticals. When 251 samples were tested for heavy metals, 24 products contained at least 10 parts per million of lead, 36 contained arsenic, and 35 contained mercury (149).

Three Singapore patients with chronic arsenic poisoning with characteristic skin changes had taken Chinese herbal remedies for many years to treat their asthma; two had cancers likely to be due to arsenic (150).

Cases of adulteration with the heavy metals mercury (151) and lead (152) have been reported.

• A 5-year-old Chinese boy developed motor and vocal tics. His parents had given him a Chinese herbal spray to treat mouth ulcers. The spray contained mercury 878 ppm. Mercury poisoning was confirmed by the blood mercury concentration (183 nmol/l, normal value for adults under 50 nmol/l).

• A 5-year-old boy of Indian origin with encephalopathy, seizures, and developmental delay developed persistent anemia. The more obvious causes were ruled out and his blood lead concentration was high (860 ng/ml). He was treated with chelation therapy and his blood lead concentration fell. For the previous 4 years his parents had given him "Tibetan Herbal Vitamins,'' produced in India, which contained large amounts of lead. The investigators calculated that over that time he had ingested around 63 g of lead.

A total of 54 samples of Asian remedies, purchased in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Florida, New York, and New Jersey, were analysed for heavy metal adulteration (153). They contained concentrations of arsenic, lead, and mercury that ranged from merely exceeding published guidelines (74%) to toxic (49%).

Ayurvedic medicines have also been reportedly adulterated and contaminated (154). For example, they have repeatedly been associated with arsenic poisoning, including hyperpigmentation and hyperkeratosis (155). Of 70 unique Ayurvedic products manufactured in India or Pakistan and sold in Boston, mostly for gastrointestinal disorders, 14 contained lead, mercury, and/or arsenic, in concentrations up to about 100 mg/g (156).

Adulteration with inorganic chemicals There is a practice among urbanized South African blacks to replace traditional herbal ingredients of purgative enemas with sodium or potassium dichromate. This switch can result in serious toxicity, characterized by acute renal insufficiency, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and hepatocel-lular dysfunction (157,158).

Contamination with micro-organisms When 62 samples of medicinal plant material and 11 samples of herbal tea were examined in Croatia, fungal contamination was found to be abundant (159). Aspergillus flavus, a known producer of aflatoxins was present in 11 and one sample respectively. Mycotoxins were found in seven of the samples analysed.

Kombucha ''mushroom'' is a symbiotic yeast/bacteria aggregate surrounded by a permeable membrane. An outbreak of skin lesions affecting 20 patients from a village near Tehran has been reported (160). The lesions were painless and had a central black necrotic area, marginal erythema, and severe peripheral edema. These clinical signs led to the suspicion of anthrax infection. It turned out that all patients had applied Kombucha mushroom locally as a painkiller. The skin lesions had developed 5-7 days after the application of the material. Cultures from the skin lesions confirmed the presence of Bacillus anthracis. Cultures of the Kombucha mushrooms were inconclusive, owing to multiple bacterial contamination and overgrowth, but it was shown that anthrax would grow on uncontaminated material. The patients all recovered with antibiotic therapy.

Contamination with pesticides

Some herbal medicaments are contaminated with pesticides (161).

Drug overdose

In a retrospective study of 2764 poisoning cases admitted to eight urban hospitals in Zimbabwe between 1998 and 1999, 7% of all cases and 13% of all deaths were related to traditional medicines (162). The authors noted that these figures were markedly lower than those from a similar survey 10 years earlier.

Susceptibility factors

Owing to extensive modifications of drug formulations and chemical extracts from an expanding range of natural products, herbal formulations may contain ingredients that are particularly harmful to individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Extra vigilance is therefore required when herbal medicinal formulations, including topical applications, are used by patients with G6PD deficiency and even their carers (163).


Liver damage has been attributed to Spirulina, a type of blue-green algae.

• A 52-year-old Japanese man was admitted with signs and symptoms consistent with toxic liver damage (164). His medical history relevant to liver disease was unremarkable; in particular, his liver enzymes had been normal. It turned out that 5 weeks before admission he had started taking a remedy containing Spirulina. A lymphocyte stimulation test for Spirulina was positive and infectious hepatitis was excluded. Liver biopsy was consistent with toxic liver injury. After withdrawal of Spirulina all his liver enzymes quickly returned to normal.

Proprietary herbal mixtures

Numerous herbal mixtures are promoted worldwide, for example through the Internet. In many cases their herbal ingredients are not disclosed.


Copaltra is a herbal tea sold in France as an adjuvant therapy for diabetes. It contains Coutarea latiflora (50 g) and Centaurium erythreae (50 g).

• A 49-year-old black woman was admitted with jaundice and raised liver enzymes 4 months after starting to take

Copaltra (165). She also took fenofibrate, polyunsaturated fatty acids, metformin, benfluorex, and verali-pride. Liver biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of acute, severe, cytolytic hepatitis, most likely drug-induced. She made a full recovery after withdrawal of Copaltra.

The authors mentioned that five similar cases of Copaltra-induced hepatitis have been reported to the French authorities.


Essiac is a Canadian herbal mixture promoted as a cancer cure. It has been reported to have caused fever (166).

• A 46-year-old woman with a squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix developed neutropenic fever during radiation therapy, 10 days after taking Essiac. The fever resolved after antibiotic therapy, but it delayed her radiation therapy for 9 days and required 4 days of hospitalization.

The authors felt that Essiac had caused this problem, but causality was uncertain, not least because she also took four other herbal medicaments.


Herbalife is a complex herbal formula that is promoted for weight loss. Acute mania has been attributed to it (167).

• A 39-year-old man developed classic symptoms of mania within 4-72 hours of taking Herbalife. He continued to take it and after several days became psychotic, paranoid, and out of control, culminating in a high-speed car chase with the police. Bipolar disorder was diagnosed and treated, including withdrawal of the Herbalife, and he remained free of symptoms 3 months later.

The author thought it likely that the herbal mixture had caused the psychotic illness in a man who had no previous history of mental disturbance.


Iberogast contains extracts of bitter candy tuft, chamo-mile flower, peppermint leaves, caraway fruit, licorice root, lemon balm leaves, angelica root, celandine, and milk thistle fruit, and has been used to treat dyspepsia (168). In a systematic review, adverse events were rare and similar to those found with placebo (169).


Isabgol is an Italian herbal mixture that is promoted for constipation.

• Syncytial giant cell hepatitis occurred in a 26-year-old woman who used Isabgol (170). Autoimmune disease and viral infections were excluded.

The authors felt that the causative role of the Isabgol was supported by the spontaneous and dramatic clinical, biochemical, and histological improvement that followed the withdrawal of Isabgol without any further therapy.

Jai Wey Guo Sao

• A 36-year-old woman was admitted to hospital because of general malaise (171). She had lost 5 kg within 6

months. She was found to have interstitial renal fibrosis and irreversible renal insufficiency. She had taken a Chinese herbal mixture Jai wey guo sao to treat irregular menses. The formulation contained Angelica sinen-sis root, Rhemanniae root and rhizome, Ligustici rhizome, Paeoniae lactiflore root, ginseng root, Eucommiae cortex, and honey.

The causative agent in this case could not be identified beyond doubt.

Kampo medicines

All admission records of patients suspected of having liver problems related to Kampo medicines between 1979 and 1999 in a Japanese Department of Oriental Medicine were reviewed (172). There were 30 cases that were suspected of being caused by Kampo medicines. On closer examination, nine seemed to be definitely unrelated, six were probably unrelated, nine were possibly related, and six were definitely or probably related to Kampo medicines. There were no deaths on record.

Sho-saiko-to is a so-called kampo medicine, a mixture of herbs, including Chinese date, ginger root, and licorice root. It is reportedly contraindicated in patients taking interferons, patients with liver cirrhosis or hepatoma, and patients with chronic hepatitis and a platelet count of 100 x 109/l ( Sho-saiko-to has repeatedly been implicated in interstitial or eosinophilic pneumonias.

• A 45-year-old woman developed a high fever, a nonproductive cough, and severe dyspnea (173). Her chest X-ray showed bilateral alveolar infiltrates. Treatment with antibiotics was not successful and her condition deteriorated. She was finally put on mechanical ventilation and subsequently improved dramatically. It turned out that she had previously taken sho-saiko-to for liver dysfunction of unknown cause.

Based on a positive lymphocyte stimulation test, the authors were confident that this herbal remedy had caused pulmonary edema.

Corneal opacities causing photophobia have been attributed to a Kampo medicine (174).

• A 30-year-old Japanese woman developed bilateral photophobia. There were dust-like opacities in both corneae. She had a superficial keratectomy, and electron microscopy identified the opacities as lipid-like particles. She had intermittently taken a Kampo medicine composed of 18 different herbal ingredients. Her photophobia coincided with episodes of taking this medicine. The remedy was withdrawn and her symptoms subsequently subsided. She then abstained from the Kampo medicine without recurrence.

Severe liver damage has been attributed to a Kampo medicine (175).

• A 50-year-old Japanese woman with a 20-year history of asthma was taking steroids and bronchodilators when she started self-medicating with a Kampo mixture called Saiko-Keishi-Kankyo-To. Two months later, she developed acute severe liver damage. The Kampo mixture was withdrawn and she promptly recovered.

The authors attributed the liver damage to one ingredient of the mixture, Trichosanthes radix, a Chinese medicament that is prepared from the root of Trichosanthes kirilowii maxim (Tian-hua-fen).


The slimming aid "LipoKinetix'' contains norephedrine hydrochloride, sodium usinate, 3,5-diiodothyronine, yohimbine hydrochloride, and caffeine. Seven patients all had the signs and symptoms of acute toxic hepatitis after taking this dietary supplement (176). Three patients had taken no other concomitant medications. All recovered spontaneously after "LipoKinetix'' was withdrawn.

Rio Hair Naturalizer System

Rio Hair Naturalizer System is a complex mixture of metallic salts and botanical extracts promoted to straighten curled hair. The product has been popular with African Americans in the USA. A survey of 464 individuals who had complained to the FDA about this remedy showed that 95% had experienced hair breakage and hair loss (177). Three-quarters of those who had hair loss had lost 40% or more; regrowth took 8 months on average.

Ting kung teng

Cholinergic poisoning has been attributed to a Chinese herbal mixture, Ting kung teng.

• A 73-year-old man developed a cholinergic syndrome, with dizziness, sweating, chills, lacrimation, salivation, rhinorrhea, nausea, and vomiting after taking the Chinese patent medicine Ting kung teng for arthritis (178). The herbal mixture contained tropane alkaloids with cholinergic activity. After withdrawal of the remedy he made a swift and complete recovery.


Tsumura, a Japanese herbal mixture has been associated with hepatotoxicity (179).

• A 49-year-old Japanese woman had taken oral Tsumura for about 6 weeks to treat internal hemorrhoids when she felt unwell. Her liver enzymes were raised and a diagnosis of drug-induced hepatic damage caused by Angelica radix and Bupleuri radix contained in the mixture was made. The liver function tests normalized 4 months after withdrawal.

Monographs on herbal products

Each of the monographs on herbal products in this encyclopedia has the following structure:

• Family: each monograph is organized under a family of plants (for example Liliaceae).

• Genera: the various genera that are included under the family name are tabulated (for example the family Liliaceae contains 94 genera); the major source of information on families and genera is the Plants National Database (

• Species: in each monograph some species are dealt with separately. For example, in the monograph on

Liliaceae, four species are included under their Latin names and major common names—Sassafras albidum (sassafras), Allium sativum (garlic), Colchicum autum-nale (autumn crocus), and Ruscus aculeatus (butcher's broom).

Each monograph includes the following information in varying amounts:

• Alternative common names; the major sources of this information are A Modern Herbal by Mrs M Grieve (1931; and The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine: an Evidence-Based Approach by E Ernst, MH Pittler, C Stevenson, and A White (Mosby, 2001).

• Active ingredients; the major source of this information is the Dictionary of Plants Containing Secondary Metabolites by John S Glasby (Taylor & Francis, 1991).

• Uses, including traditional and modern uses.

• Adverse effects.

The families of plants and their species that are the subjects of monographs are listed in Table 2 by alphabetical order of family. The same data are listed in Table 3 by alphabetical order of species. Other monographs cover the Basidiomycetes (Lentinus edodes, shiitake) and algae. Table 4 gives the Latin equivalents of the common names. To locate a plant by its common name, convert the common name into the Latin name using Table 4 and then find out to which family it belongs by consulting Table 3.

Table 2 Families of plants and their species that are the subjects of monographs in this encyclopedia (by alphabetical order of family)

Family (common name) Species (common name)

Acoraceae (calamus) Aloeaceae (aloe)


(amaranth) Anacardiaceae (sumac) Apiaceae (carrot)

Apocynaceae (dogbane) Araliaceae (ginseng)

Arecaceae (palm)

Aristolochiaceae (birthwort)

Asclepiadaceae (milkweed)

Acorus calamus (calamus root) Aloe capensis (aloe) Aloe vera (aloe)

Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng)

Rhus species (sumac) Ammi majus (bishop's weed) Ammi visnaga (toothpick weed) Angelica sinensis (dong quai) Conium maculatum (hemlock) Coriandrum sativum (coriander) Ferula assa-foetida (asafetida) Rauwolfia serpentina (snakeroot)

Eleutherococcus senticosus

(Siberian ginseng) Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng) Areca catechu (areca, betel) Serenoa repens (saw palmetto) Aristolochia species (Dutchman's pipe)

Asarum heterotropoides (Xu xin) Asclepias tuberosa (pleurisy root) Xysmalobium undulatum (xysmalobium)

Family (common name) Species (common name)

Family (common name) Species (common name)

Asteraceae (aster)

Berberidaceae (barberry)

Boraginaceae (borage)

Brassicaceae (mustard)


(bellflower) Cannabaceae Capparaceae (caper) Celastraceae (bittersweet)


(goosefoot) Clusiaceae

(mangosteen) Convolvulaceae (morning glory)

Coriariaceae Cucurbitaceae (cucumber)


(cypress) Cycadaceae (cycad) Droseraceae (sundew)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow) Anthemis species and Matricaria recutita (chamomile) Arnica montana (arnica) Artemisia absinthium (wormwood) Artemisea annua (Qinghaosu) Artemisia cina (wormseed) Artemisia vulgaris (common wormwood) Calendula officinalis (marigold) Callilepis laureola (impila, ox-eye daisy)

Chrysanthemum vulgaris (common tansy)

Cynara scolymus (artichoke) Echinacea species (coneflower) Eupatorium species (thoroughwort) Inula helenium (elecampane) Petasites species (butterbur) Senecio species (ragwort) Silybum marianum (milk thistle) Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew) Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) Berberis vulgaris (European barberry) Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh)

Dysosma pleianthum (bajiaolian) Mahonia species (barberry) Cynoglossum officinale (hound's tongue)

Symphytum officinale (black wort) Heliotropium species (heliotrope) Armoracia rusticana (horseradish) Brassica nigra (black mustard) Raphanus sativus var. niger

(black radish) Sinapis species (mustard) Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco)

Humulus lupulus (hop) Capparis spinosa (caper plant) Catha edulis (khat, qat) Euonymus europaeus (spindle tree) Tripterygium wilfordii (Lei gong teng) Chenopodium ambrosioides

(American wormseed) Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort)

Convolvulus scammonia (Mexican scammony) Ipomoea purga (jalap) Coriaria arborea (tutu) Bryonia alba (white bryony) Citrullus colocynthis (colocynth) Ecballium elaterium (squirting cucumber) Momordica charantia (karela fruit, bitter melon) Sechium edule (chayote) Juniperus communis (juniper)

Cycas circinalis (false sago palm) Dionaea muscipula (Venus flytrap)

Dryopteraceae (wood fern) Ericaceae (heath)

Euphorbiaceae (spurge)

Fabaceae (pea)

Gentianaceae (gentian)

Ginkgoaceae Hippocastanaceae (horse chestnut)

Illiciaceae (star anise) Iridaceae (iris) Juglandaceae (walnut) Krameriaceae (Krameria) Lamiaceae (mint)

Lauraceae (laurel)

Liliaceae (lily)

Loganiaceae (Logania) Lycopodiaceae (club moss) Malvaceae (mallow)

Meliaceae (mahogany) Menispermaceae

(moonseed) Myristicaceae (nutmeg) Myrtaceae (myrtle)

Onagraceae (evening primrose)

Dryopteris filix-mas (male fern)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry) Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen) Ledum palustre (marsh Labrador tea) Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) Breynia officinalis (Chi R Yun) Croton tiglium (croton) Ricinus communis (castor oil plant) Cassia species (senna) Crotalaria species (rattlebox) Cyamopsis tetragonoloba

(cluster bean) Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom) Dipteryxspecies (tonka beans) Genista tinctoria (dyer's broom) Glycyrrhiza glabra (liquorice) Lupinus species (lupin) Medicago sativa (alfalfa) Melilotus officinalis (sweet clover) Myroxylon species (balsam of Peru) Pithecollobium jiringa (jering fruit) Sophora falvescens (Ku shen) Trifolium pratense (red clover) Gentiana species (gentian) Swertia species (felwort) Ginkgo biloba (maidenhair) Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) Illicium species (star anise) Crocus sativus (Indian saffron) Juglans regia (English walnut) Krameria species (ratany) Hedeoma pulegoides (pennyroyal)

Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) Mentha piperita (peppermint) Mentha pulegium (pennyroyal) Salvia miltiorrhiza (danshen) Salvia officinalis (sage) Scutellaria species (skullcap) Teucrium species (germander) Cinnamonum camphora (camphor tree)

Laurus nobilis (laurel) Sassafras albidum (sassafras) Allium sativum (garlic) Colchicum autumnale (autumn crocus)

Ruscus aculeatus (butcher's broom) Veratrum species (hellebore) Strychnos nux-vomica (nux vomica) Lycopodium serratum (clubmoss)

Gossypium species (cotton) Psoralea corylifolia (bakuchi) Azadirachta indica (bead tree) Stephania species (Jin bu huan)

Myristica fragrans (nutmeg) Eucalyptus species (eucalyptus) Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) Oenothera biennis (evening primrose) Chelidonium majus (celandine)


Table 2 Continued

Family (common name) Species (common name)

Papaveraceae (poppy)

Passifloraceae (passion flower) Pedaliaceae (sesame) Phytolaccaceae

(pokeweed) Piperaceae (pepper) Plantaginaceae

(plantain) Poaceae (grass) Polygonaceae (buckwheat) Ranunculaceae (buttercup)

Rhamnaceae (buckthorn) Rosaceae (rose)

Rubiaceae (madder)

Rutaceae (rue)

Salicaceae (willow) Sapindaceae (soapberry) Selaginellaceae (spike moss) Solanaceae (potato)

Sterculiaceae (cacao) Taxaceae (yew) Theaceae (tea) Urticaceae (nettle) Valerianaceae

(valerian) Verbenaceae (verbena)

Viscaceae (Christmas mistletoe)

Papaver somniferum (opium poppy) Passiflora incarnata (passion flower) Harpagophytum procumbens

(devil's claw) Phytolacca americana (pokeweed) Piper methysticum (kava kava)

Plantago species (plantain) Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) Polygonum (knotweed) Rheum palmatum (rhubarb) Aconitum napellus (monkshood) Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh) Delphinium species (delphinium) Hydrastis canadensis (golden seal) Pulsatilla species (pasque flower) Ranunculus damascenus

(buttercup) Rhamnus purshianus (cascara sagrada) Ziziphus jujuba (dazao) Crataegus species (hawthorn) Prunus species (plum) Zingiber officinale (ginger) Asperula odorata (sweet woodruff) Cephaelis ipecacuanha (ipecac) Hintonia latiflora (copalchi bark) Morinda citrifolia (noni) Rubia tinctorum (madder) Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw) Agathosma betulina (buchu) Citrus auranticum (bergamot) Citrus paradisi (grapefruit) Dictamnus dasycarpus (densefruit pittany)

Pilocarpus species (pilocarpus) Ruta graveolens (rue) Salix species (willow) Blighia sapida (akee) Paullinia cupana (guaranaa) Selaginella doederleinii (spike moss) Anisodus tanguticus (Zangqie)

Capsicum annum (chili pepper) Datura candida (angel's trumpet) Datura stramonium (Jimson weed) Datura suaveolens (angel's trumpet) Lycium barbarum (Chinese wolfberry) Mandragora species (mandrake) Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) Scopolia species (scopola) Sterculia species (sterculia) Taxus species (yew) Camellia sinensis (green tea) Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) Valeriana (valerian) Vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree)

Phoradendron flavescens (American mistletoe) Viscum album (mistletoe)

Table 3 Families of plants and their genera or species that are the subjects of monographs in this encyclopedia (by alphabetical order of genus or species)

Genus or species (common name) Family (common name)

Achillea millefolium (yarrow) Aconitum napellus (monkshood)

Acorus calamus (calamus root) Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) Agathosma betulina (buchu) Allium sativum (garlic) Aloe capensis (aloe) Aloe vera (aloe) Ammi majus (bishop's weed) Ammi visnaga (toothpick weed) Angelica sinensis (dong quai) Anisodus tanguticus (zangqie), Anthemis species (chamomile) Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass) Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

(bearberry) Areca catechu (areca, betel) Aristolochia species (Dutchman's pipe)

Armoracia rusticana (horseradish) Arnica montana (arnica) Artemisea annua (qinghaosu) Artemisia absinthium (wormwood) Artemisia cina (wormseed) Artemisia vulgaris (common wormwood) Asarum heterotropoides (xu xin)

Asclepias tuberosa (pleurisy root)

Asperula odorata (sweet woodruff) Azadirachta indica (bead tree) Berberis vulgaris (European barberry) Blighia sapida (akee) Brassica nigra (black mustard) Breynia officinalis (chi r yun) Bryonia alba (white bryony)

Calendula officinalis (marigold) Callilepis laureola (impila, ox-eye daisy) Camellia sinensis (green tea) Capparis spinosa (caper plant) Capsicum annum (chili pepper) Cassia species (senna) Catha edulis (khat, qat)

Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh)

Cephaelis ipecacuanha (ipecac) Chelidonium majus (celandine) Chenopodium ambrosioides

(American wormseed) Chrysanthemum vulgaris (common tansy)

Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh)

Asteraceae (aster) Ranunculaceae

(buttercup) Acoraceae (calamus) Hippocastanaceae (horse chestnut) Rutaceae (rue) Liliaceae (lily) Aloeaceae (aloe) Aloeaceae (aloe) Apiaceae (carrot) Apiaceae (carrot) Apiaceae (carrot) Solanaceae (potato) Asteraceae (aster) Poaceae (grass)

Ericaceae (heath)

Arecaceae (palm) Aristolochiaceae

(birthwort) Brassicaceae (mustard) Asteraceae (aster) Asteraceae (aster) Asteraceae (aster) Asteraceae (aster) Asteraceae (aster)


(birthwort) Asclepiadaceae

(milkweed) Rubiaceae (madder) Meliaceae (mahogany) Berberidaceae (barberry)

Sapindaceae (soapberry) Brassicaceae (mustard) Euphorbiaceae (spurge) Cucurbitaceae (cucumber) Asteraceae (aster) Asteraceae (aster)

Theaceae (tea) Capparaceae (caper) Solanaceae (potato) Fabaceae (pea) Celastraceae

(bittersweet) Berberidaceae (barberry)

Rubiaceae (madder) Papaveraceae (poppy) Chenopodiaceae

(goosefoot) Asteraceae (aster)

Ranunculaceae (buttercup)

Genus or species (common name) Family (common name)

Genus or species (common name) Family (common name)

Cinnamonum camphora (camphor tree)

Citrullus colocynthis (colocynth)

Citrus auranticum (bergamot) Citrus paradisi (grapefruit) Colchicum autumnale (autumn crocus)

Conium maculatum (hemlock) Convolvulus scammonia (Mexican scammony) Coriandrum sativum (coriander) Coriaria arborea (tutu) Crataegus species (hawthorn) Crocus sativus (Indian saffron) Crotalaria species (rattlebox) Croton tiglium (croton)

Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (cluster bean)

Cycas circinalis (false sago palm) Cynara scolymus (artichoke) Cynoglossum officinale (hound's tongue)

Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom) Datura candida (angel's trumpet) Datura stramonium (Jimson weed) Datura suaveolens (angel's trumpet) Delphinium species (delphinium)

Dictamnus dasycarpus (densefruit pittany)

Dionaea muscipula (Venus flytrap) Dipteryx species (tonka beans) Dryopteris filix-mas (male fern)

Dysosma pleianthum (bajiaolian) Ecballium elaterium (squirting cucumber) Echinacea species (coneflower) Eleutherococcus senticosus

(Siberian ginseng) Eucalyptus species (eucalyptus) Euonymus europaeus (spindle tree)

Eupatorium species

(thoroughwort) Ferula assa-foetida (asafetida) Gaultheria procumbens

(wintergreen) Genista tinctoria (dyer's broom) Gentiana species (gentian) Ginkgo biloba (maidenhair) Glycyrrhiza glabra (liquorice) Gossypium (cotton) Harpagophytum procumbens

(devil's claw) Hedeoma pulegoides (pennyroyal) Heliotropium species (heliotrope) Hintonia latiflora (copalchi bark) Humulus lupulus (hop) Hydrastis canadensis (golden seal)

Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort)

Lauraceae (laurel)

Cucurbitaceae (cucumber) Rutaceae (rue) Rutaceae (rue) Liliaceae (lily)

Apiaceae (carrot) Convolvulaceae (morning glory) Apiaceae (carrot) Coriariaceae Rosaceae (rose) Iridaceae (iris) Fabaceae (pea) Euphorbiaceae

(spurge) Fabaceae (pea)

Cycadaceae (cycad) Asteraceae (aster) Boraginaceae (borage)

Fabaceae (pea) Solanaceae (potato) Solanaceae (potato) Solanaceae (potato)


(buttercup) Rutaceae (rue)

Droseraceae (sundew) Fabaceae (pea) Dryopteraceae (wood fern)

Berberidaceae (barberry) Cucurbitaceae (cucumber) Asteraceae (aster) Araliaceae

Myrtaceae (myrtle) Celastraceae

(bittersweet) Asteraceae (aster)

Apiaceae (carrot) Ericaceae (heath)

Fabaceae (pea) Gentianaceae (gentian) Ginkgoaceae Fabaceae (pea) Malvaceae (mallow) Pedaliaceae (sesame)

Lamiaceae (mint) Boraginaceae (borage) Rubiaceae (madder) Cannabaceae Ranunculaceae

(buttercup) Clusiaceae (mangosteen)

Illicium species (star anise) Inula helenium (elecampane) Ipomoea purga (jalap)

Juglans regia (English walnut) Juniperus communis (juniper) Krameria species (ratany) Laurus nobilis (laurel) Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) Ledum palustre (marsh Labrador tea)

Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco)

Lupinus species (lupin) Lycium barbarum (Chinese wolfberry) Lycopodium serratum (clubmoss)

Mahonia species (barberry) Mandragora species (mandrake) Matricaria recutita (chamomile) Medicago sativa (alfalfa) Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) Melilotus officinalis (sweet clover) Mentha piperita (peppermint) Mentha pulegium (pennyroyal) Momordica charantia (karela fruit, bitter melon) Morinda citrifolia (noni) Myristica fragrans (nutmeg) Myroxylon species (balsam of Peru)

Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) Oenothera biennis (evening primrose) Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng) Papaver somniferum (opium poppy)

Passiflora incarnata (passion flower)

Paullinia cupana (guaranaa) Petasites species (butterbur) Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) Phoradendron flavescens

(American mistletoe) Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)

Pilocarpus species (pilocarpus) Piper methysticum (kava kava) Pithecollobium jiringa (jering fruit) Plantago species (plantain) Polygonum (knotweed)

Prunus species (plum) Psoralea corylifolia (bakuchi) Pulsatilla species (pasque flower)

Ranunculus damascenus

(buttercup) Raphanus sativus var. niger (black radish)

Rauwolfia serpentina (snakeroot) Rhamnus purshianus (cascara sagrada)

Illiciaceae (star anise) Asteraceae (aster) Convolvulaceae (morning glory)

Juglandaceae (walnut) Cupressaceae (cypress) Krameriaceae (Krameria) Lauraceae (laurel) Lamiaceae Ericaceae (heath)


(bellflower) Fabaceae (pea) Solanaceae (potato)

Lycopodiaceae (club moss)

Berberidaceae (barberry) Solanaceae (potato) Asteraceae (aster) Fabaceae (pea) Myrtaceae (myrtle) Fabaceae (pea) Lamiaceae Lamiaceae (mint) Cucurbitaceae (cucumber) Rubiaceae (madder) Myristicaceae (nutmeg) Fabaceae (pea)

Solanaceae (potato) Onagraceae (evening primrose) Araliaceae (ginseng) Papaveraceae (poppy)

Passifloraceae (passion flower) Sapindaceae (soapberry) Asteraceae (aster) Amaranthaceae

(amaranth) Viscaceae (Christmas mistletoe) Phytolaccaceae

(pokeweed) Rutaceae (rue) Piperaceae (pepper) Fabaceae (pea) Plantaginaceae (plantain) Polygonaceae (buckwheat) Rosaceae (rose) Malvaceae (mallow) Ranunculaceae

(buttercup) Ranunculaceae

(buttercup) Brassicaceae (mustard)

Apocynaceae (dogbane) Rhamnaceae (buckthorn)


Table 3 Continued

Common name

Latin name (genus or species)

Genus or species (common name)

Family (common name)


Arnica montana

Rheum palmatum (rhubarb)



Cynara scolymus



Ferula assa-foetida

Rhus species (sumac)

Anacardiaceae (sumac)

Asian ginseng

Panax ginseng

Ricinus communis (castor oil plant)

Euphorbiaceae (spurge)

Autumn crocus

Colchicum autumnale

Rubia tinctorum (madder)

Rubiaceae (madder)


Dysosma pleianthum

Ruscus aculeatus (butcher's

Liliaceae (lily)


Psoralea corylifolia


Balsam of Peru

Myroxylon species

Ruta graveolens (rue)

Rutaceae (rue)


Mahonia species

Salix species (willow)

Salicaceae (willow)

Bead tree

Azadirachta indica

Salvia miltiorrhiza (danshen)

Lamiaceae (mint)


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Salvia officinalis (sage)

Lamiaceae (mint)


Citrus auranticum

Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Lauraceae (laurel)

Bishop's weed

Ammi majus

Scopolia species (scopola)

Solanaceae (potato)

Black cohosh

Cimicifuga racemosa

Scutellaria species (skullcap)

Lamiaceae (mint)

Black mustard

Brassica nigra

Sechium edule (chayote)


Black radish

Raphanus sativus var. niger


Black wort

Symphytum officinale

Selaginella doederleinii (spike

Selaginellaceae (spike

Blue cohosh

Caulophyllum thalictroides



Brazilian ginseng

Pfaffia paniculata

Senecio species (ragwort)

Asteraceae (aster)


Agathosma betulina

Serenoa repens (saw palmetto)

Arecaceae (palm)

Butcher's broom

Ruscus aculeatus

Silybum marianum (milk thistle)

Asteraceae (aster)


Petasites species

Sinapis species (mustard)

Brassicaceae (mustard)


Ranunculus damascenus

Sophora falvescens (ku shen)

Fabaceae (pea)

Calamus root

Acorus calamus

Stephania species (jin bu huan)


Camphor tree

Cinnamonum camphora


Caper plant

Capparis spinosa

Sterculia species (sterculia)

Sterculiaceae (cacao)

Cascara sagrada

Rhamnus purshianus

Strychnos nux-vomica (nux

Loganiaceae (Logania)

Castor oil plant

Ricinus communis


Cat's claw

Uncaria tomentosa

Swertia species (felwort)

Gentianaceae (gentian)


Chelidonium majus

Symphytum officinale (black wort)

Boraginaceae (borage)


Anthemis species

Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew)

Asteraceae (aster)


Matricaria recutita

Taxus species (yew)

Taxaceae (yew)

Chaste tree

Vitex agnus-castus

Teucrium species (germander)

Lamiaceae (mint)


Sechium edule

Trifolium pratense (red clover)


Chi r yun

Breynia officinalis

Tripterygium wilfordii (lei gong


Chili pepper

Capsicum annum



Chinese wolfberry

Lycium barbarum

Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot)

Asteraceae (aster)


Lycopodium serratum

Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw)

Rubiaceae (madder)

Cluster bean

Cyamopsis tetragonoloba

Urtica dioica (stinging nettle)

Urticaceae (nettle)


Citrullus colocynthis

Vaccinium macrocarpon

Ericaceae (heath)


Tussilago farfara


Common tansy

Chrysanthemum vulgaris

Valeriana (valerian)

Valerianaceae (valerian)

Common wormwood

Artemisia vulgaris

Veratrum species (hellebore)

Liliaceae (lily)


Echinacea species

Viscum album (mistletoe)

Viscaceae (Christmas

Copalchi bark

Hintonia latiflora



Coriandrum sativum

Vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree)

Verbenaceae (verbena)


Gossypium species

Xysmalobium undulatum



Vaccinium macrocarpon




Croton tiglium

Zingiber officinale (ginger)



Salvia miltiorrhiza

Ziziphus jujuba (dazao)

Rhamnaceae (buckthorn)


Ziziphus jujuba


Delphinium species

Densefruit pittany

Dictamnus dasycarpus

Table 4 Conversion of common names of plants to Latin names

Devil's claw

Harpagophytum procumbens

Dong quai

Angelica sinensis

Common name

Latin name (genus or species)

Dutchman's pipe

Aristolochia species

Dyer's broom

Genista tinctoria


Blighia sapida


Inula helenium


Medicago sativa

English walnut

Juglans regia


Aloe capensis


Eucalyptus species


Aloe vera

European barberry

Berberis vulgaris

American mistletoe

Phoradendron flavescens

Evening primrose

Oenothera biennis

American wormseed

Chenopodium ambrosioides

False sago palm

Cycas circinalis

Angel's trumpet

Datura candida


Swertia species

Angel's trumpet

Datura suaveolens


Tanacetum parthenium

Areca, betel

Areca catechu


Allium sativum

Common name

Latin name (genus or species)

Common name

Latin name (genus or species)


Gentiana species


Ruta graveolens


Teucrium species


Salvia officinalis


Zingiber officinale


Sassafras albidum

Golden seal

Hydrastis canadensis

Saw palmetto

Serenoa repens


Citrus paradisi


Scopolia species

Green tea

Camellia sinensis

Scotch broom

Cytisus scoparius


Paullinia cupana


Cassia species

Guar gum

Cyamopsis tetragonoloba

Siberian ginseng

Eleutherococcus senticosus


Crataegus species


Scutellaria species


Heliotropium species


Rauwolfia serpentina


Veratrum species

Spike moss

Selaginella doederleinii


Conium maculatum

Spindle tree

Euonymus europaeus


Humulus lupulus

Squirting cucumber

Ecballium elaterium

Horse chestnut

Aesculus hippocastanum

St John's wort

Hypericum perforatum

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