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Toxicology. 2004 May 20;198(1-3):221-8.

Toxicological considerations of Kampo medicines in clinical use.

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  • 1Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, Chiba University, Kashiwanoha 6-2-1, Kashiwa 277-0882, Japan. ikegami@faculty.chiba.u.jp


Kampo (Japanese herbal) medicines, produced by combining multiple crude drugs, almost all of plant origin but with some of animal or mineral origin, contain great many substances. Since Kampo medicine results from the combination of many substances, their effect is a combination of the various interactions of the constituent substances. It has been demonstrated that several potential side effects such as allergic reactions, diarrhea and vomiting may be experienced when administering Kampo medicine. In addition, it has been reported that Kampo medicine may have antagonistic or synergistic interactions with western drugs or with some foods such as grapefruit juice. Among the 210 medicinal prescriptions used in present-day Japan, the clinical uses and the acute, chronic and mutagenic toxicity of some Kampo medicines are described. Studies of some potential interaction between Kampo medicines and western drugs are also considered.

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