Relying on traditional Chinese medicines could put you at risk of deadly liver cancer, new research suggests.
Singaporean scientists have uncovered evidence of a clear link between one herbal remedy and the deadly strain of cancer. They warned the danger stems from toxic chemicals called aristolochic acids (AA), derived from the woody vines of Aristolochia plants.
In regions that heavily rely on the plants as medicines, experts discovered up to 78 per cent of liver tumours 'were likely due to contact with the chemicals'. It backs up a host of research in recent decades that has shown AA to be harmful to humans, causing it to be banned in both the UK and US.
The acids can be found in some traditional Chinese medicines that are given during childbirth, to prevent parasites, promote healing and treat insomnia. The report, published in Science Translational Medicine, looked at samples of liver cancer in Taiwan, China, Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia.