Ryan J. Huxtable, PhD
In 1976, in Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Alfred Stillman, a gastroenterologist, saw a 6-month-old girl with ascites and distended abdominal veins. Two weeks earlier, the child had had a normal pediatric examination. On questioning, the mother divulged that in the intervening period the child had been given a considerable quantity of a commercially available herbal tea. We showed this tea to be from the plant Senecio longilobus, commonly known as thread-leafed groundsel, and to contain hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (1). Needle biopsy specimens confirmed a diagnosis of veno-occlusive disease and the subsequent development of cirrhosis. At first, this appeared to be an
Huxtable RJ. The Myth of Beneficent Nature: The Risks of Herbal Preparations. Ann Intern Med. 1992;117:165–166. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-117-2-165
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1992;117(2):165-166.
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