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Chinese herbal medicines, aristolochic acid and Balkan endemic nephropathy
  1. J I Pitt
  1. Correspondence to J I Pitt, CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences, PO Box 52, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Australia; john.pitt{at}csiro.au

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Plants from the genus Aristolochia have been used in Chinese herbal medicines for many years. Because of local variations in recipes and in the naming of the ingredients, it is difficult to quantify the levels and overall amounts of use. Drawing on official Chinese sources, the most comprehensive account in the English literature is that of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).1 The IARC document lists seven species of Aristolochia that are in common use in traditional medicines. As explained in the accompanying paper by Yang et al,2 the Chinese herbal medicine Han Fangji which was based on a root preparation from Stephania tetranda, was slowly …

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