Aristolochia

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What other names is Aristolochia known by?

Aristoloche, Aristoloche Clématite, Aristoloche de Texas, Aristoloche des Vignes, Aristoloche de Virginie, Aristoloche Vulgaire, Aristolochia auricularia, Aristolochia clematitis, Aristolochia fangchi, Aristolochia heterophylla, Aristolochia kwangsiensis, Aristolochia manshuriensis, Aristolochia moupinensis, Aristolochia reticulata, Aristolochia serpentaria, Aristoloquia, Birthwort, Guan Mu Tong, Guang Fang Ji, Long Birthwort, Pelican Flower, Poison de Terre, Pomerasse, Ratelaine, Rateline, Red River Snakeroot, Sangree Root, Sangrel, Sarrasine, Serpentaire, Serpentaire de la Rivière Rouge, Serpentaria, Snakeroot, Snakeweed, Texas Snakeroot, Virginia Serpentary, Virginia Snakeroot.

What is Aristolochia?

Aristolochia is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground and the root are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, aristolochia is used to prevent seizures, increase sexual desire, boost the immune system, and start menstruation. It is also used to treat snakebite, intestinal pain, gallbladder pain, arthritis, gout, achy joints (rheumatism), eczema, weight loss, and wounds.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Sexual arousal.
  • Convulsions (seizures).
  • Boosting the body's defense system (immune system).
  • Starting menstruation.
  • Colic.
  • Gallbladder pain.
  • Arthritis.
  • Gout.
  • Achy joints (rheumatism).
  • A skin condition called eczema.
  • Weight loss.
  • Wounds.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of aristolochia for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Aristolochia work?

There isn't enough information to know how aristolochia works.

Are there safety concerns?

Aristolochia is UNSAFE. It contains aristolochic acid, which is toxic to the kidneys and causes cancer. Use of aristolochia can cause kidney damage leading to the need for kidney dialysis and kidney transplant. It also greatly increases the risk of bladder cancer and other urinary tract cancers.

Health authorities around the world have taken action to protect the public against aristolochia and aristolochic acid. Aristolochia is banned in Germany, Austria, France, Great Britain, Belgium, and Japan. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seizes any product that it believes might contain aristolochic acid. The FDA will not release the product until its maker proves the product does not contain aristolochic acid. Health Canada, the Canadian health authority, removed five aristolochia-containing Chinese herbal medicine products from sale. The products include Touku Natural Herbal Rheumatic Pills, two brands of Tri-Snakegall & Fritillary Powder, Tracheitis Pills, and Gastropathy Capsules.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Aristolochia is UNSAFE for anyone to use, including pregnant and breast-feeding women. Aristolochia contains aristolochic acid, which is toxic to the kidneys and causes cancer. Don't use it.

Kidney disease: Aristolochia might bring on early kidney failure in people with kidney disease.

Dosing considerations for Aristolochia.

The appropriate dose of aristolochia depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for aristolochia. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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