Sunday 22 October 2023

Herbal and dietary supplements that causes hepatitis and liver damage

The Hidden Dangers of Herbal Supplements: A Cautionary Tale of Liver Damage

Herbal and dietary supplements have gained popularity in recent years, with many individuals turning to these products in the pursuit of better health and wellness. While some herbal supplements can indeed offer benefits, it's essential to be aware of potential risks. A recent case study shared by a medical doctor sheds light on the hidden dangers of herbal products, particularly those containing ingredients with known liver toxic properties.

The Case Study

The medical doctor in question, a clinical researcher specializing in herbal and dietary supplements, encountered a case that left them astounded. A young woman had been consuming a proprietary herbal product for general wellness, continuously for a month and intermittently for a few weeks. The shocking outcome of this seemingly innocuous endeavor revealed the alarming impact on her liver health:

1. Bilirubin (a marker of jaundice): 24 mg/dl (normal range: 0.8-1.2)
2. ALT (liver enzyme): 1045 U/L (normal range: <40)
3. AST (liver enzyme): 889 U/L (normal range: <42)

The Ingredients

The herbal product under scrutiny contained a staggering 39 different herbs and four preservatives. This fact, in itself, raises a significant red flag. However, what's even more concerning are some of the specific ingredients, including:

1. Guduchi/Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) - This herb is a well-documented and extensively studied cause of severe hepatitis, as confirmed by various scientific studies.

2. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) - Despite its popularity in wellness products, Ashwagandha is emerging as a significant cause of severe liver injury, with associated risks of DNA damage and cancer development.

3. Bilva (Aegele marmelos) - This ingredient contains ageline, a well-known liver toxic agent, with its synthetic version banned by the US FDA as a dietary supplement.

4. Goksura (Tribulus terrestris) - The presence of phylloerythrin and beta-carboline alkaloids in this herb can lead to liver injury.

5. Aloe vera (Aloe barbedensis) - Aloe vera has been widely reported as a cause of severe hepatitis in various studies.

The Combined Risk

Each of these ingredients has been shown to cause severe liver injury when used individually. The critical issue in this case is that they were all combined in a single product, exponentially increasing the risk of liver injury, as witnessed in the patient's elevated bilirubin and liver enzyme levels.

A Vital Warning

This case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of caution when considering herbal supplements. The doctor's warning is clear: avoid consuming complex multiherbal products or products containing known liver toxic ingredients. Multiherbal products often lack clinically proven benefits and can lead to severe adverse events, as demonstrated in this unfortunate case.


The case of severe liver damage resulting from the consumption of a proprietary herbal product with a cocktail of liver-toxic ingredients is a chilling example of the potential dangers lurking within the herbal supplement industry. Individuals should prioritize their health and safety by researching and consulting with healthcare professionals before using such products. The focus should always be on informed decision-making and the well-being of one's body, and this includes vigilance when considering herbal supplements. Your health is invaluable, so proceed with caution and prioritize safety.

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