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The report, published in Science Translational Medicine, looked at samples of liver cancer in Taiwan, China, Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia.

A 'well-defined mutational signature' was found in patients who succumbed to the complications of consuming the plant.

Relying on traditional Chinese medicines could put you at risk of deadly liver cancer, new research suggests.

Singaporean scientists have uncovered evidence of a clear link between one herbal remedy and the deadly strain of cancer.

Certain alternative medicines could lower blood sugar and insulin levels, too.

Chinese medicines could be used alongside conventional treatments, said researchers from from Shandong University Qilu Hospital in China.

They warned the danger stems from toxic chemicals called aristolochic acids (AA), derived from the woody vines of Aristolochia plants.

Taiwan followed suit two years later and banned some herbal preparations using the plants.However, there is no outright ban in China or Taiwan, and 'only specific plants, rather than any plant and product containing AA or its derivatives, are regulated'.Researchers found that the prevalence of AA-associated mutations in liver cancers in Taiwan did not drop after the ban was implemented.The alternative practice has become increasingly popular in Europe and North America, mainly as complement to Western medicine.Key medical terms: diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, hyperlipidemia Key Chinese medical references: qi, five viscera, hun, po, shen, spleen/stomach Chinese herbs: ginseng, atractylodes, hoelen, licorice, codonopsis, platycodon, gynostemma, eleuthero, tien-chi, American ginseng Active constituents: ginsenosides, saponins, dammarane triterpenes, oleanolic acid Chinese formulas: Lizhong Wan, Guipi Tang, Buzhong Yiqi Tang, Shen Ling Baizhu Tang, Si Junzi Tang Traditional Chinese medical texts: Shennong Bencao Jing, Shanghan Lun, Hejiju Fang, Bencao Gangmu SUMMARY: Ginseng is a popular herb that is frequently misunderstood and usually provided in dosages that are too small to have the desired effects.Some 78 per cent of the 98 samples studied in Taiwan contained mutation patterns that indicated the cancers were likely due to contact with the chemicals.

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