New Delhi: Low doses of herbal medicine taken for a short duration do not pose health risk, Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers' Association (ADMA) has suggested.
Reacting to a media report quoting a study done in London which said herbal medicines containing toxic aristolochic acid used for slimming and to treat ashthma and arthritis, are exposing people to kidney failure risks, the ADMA said the scientific research should mention the dose and duration of aristolochic use.
The ADMA, in a letter to the Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, says aristolochia indica is one of the two plants in ancient literature which are known to possess aristolochic acid and aristolochia is recommended for short durations.
"Ayurveda is well versed with the toxic effects of aristolochia indica. The granthas (books) clearly mention that this herb, if taken in very high doses, causes inflammation of stomach and kidney leading to nausea, vomiting, colic and even coma and death due to respiratory failure, if not treated immediately", the ADMA said
"Ayurvedic physicians always recommend the use of herbal medicines in their natural form and avoid the use of their active constituents in the extracted form", it added.
A study from King's College London last month had claimed millions of people continue to be exposed to significant health risk due to herbal medicines containing toxic aristolochic acids widely used in China and India.
The study had found that herbal medicines, used for a wide range of conditions including slimming, asthma and arthritis are putting people at risk of aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN) - a type of kidney failure caused by the intake of these acids.

ADMA also referred to a study published in an American Journal of Medicine in 2000 which found that aritolochia with total doses of more than 200gm taken for mean duration of 15 months was associated with a higher risk of urothelial carcinoma.
"This dose is almost more than 100 times the dose recommended in Ayurvedic texts and that too for quite a long duration," the ADMA letter said.
The Mumbai-based ADMA has expressed concern about recent media reports that may be "tarnishing" the traditional medicinal systems in India such as ayurveda.


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