Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

School of Chinese Medicine

Title

Qianliguang (Senecio scandens) safety dilemma: Dose is the key?

Language

English

Abstract

Qianliguang (Senecio scandens) is a common Chinese medicinal herb. Qianliguang-containing herbal proprietary products are registered as over-the-counter remedies in China and exported to Western countries. The safety of using Qianliguang and its products has raised general concerns because of a potential risk of the presence of hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). A systematic toxicological study is thus required to verify this public concern. In the present article, we report, for the first time, that S. scandens contains nine hepatotoxic PAs with a content of 6.95-7.19 μg/g. At a dose equivalent to the daily intake recommended by the Pharmacopoeia of China, the total content of toxic PAs in Qianliguang was determined to be 3.48 μg/kg/day, which is far below the lowest dose to cause hepatotoxicity (15 μg/kg/day) suggested by the International Program on Chemical Safety. No significant hepatotoxic effects were observed in rats fed with the extract at this human-equivalent dose for 14 consecutive days. However, a single overdose of the herbal water extract (6 g/kg), which was about 8-fold higher than the recommended dose, produced typical PA-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Therefore, appropriate dosage guidelines should be implemented for the herbal industry, for export/import retailers, and for herbal medicine practitioners to ensure the safe and beneficial use of these herbal medicines.

Keywords

Asteraceae, Disease, Hepatic veno-occlusive, Pyrrolizidine alkaloid, Qianliguang, Senecio scandens

Publication Date

2009

Source Publication Title

Planta Medica

Volume

75

Issue

10

Start Page

1107

End Page

1111

Publisher

Georg Thieme Verlag

DOI

10.1055/s-0029-1185468

Link to Publisher's Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0029-1185468

ISSN (print)

00320943

ISSN (electronic)

14390221

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