Friday, July 21, 2006

Dangerous herb: "Millions of women may be at risk of liver disorders because they take the herbal remedy black cohosh to counter hot flushes and other symptoms of the menopause. An official alert over Cimicifuga racemosa was issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency yesterday and warnings will soon appear on all products containing the plant. Black cohosh is also sold as black snake root, rattle snake root and squaw root in a market worth 4.6 million pounds a year. Black cohosh, which is sold as drops or capsules that cost between 5 and 10 pounds for a month's supply, has been available in Britain for more than 20 years. Its use has increased since 2003, when a study linked HRT with higher risks of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer. Professor Philip Routledge, chairman of the Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee, said that the data underlined a link between black cohosh and a risk of liver disorders. "This is rare, but can be serious," he said. Anyone who has suffered a liver complaint or any other serious health problem was advised to consult their GP before taking it."

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