Dangers in herbal medicine (continued) — DNA sequencing to hunt illegal ingredients

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Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA.

In continuation to last week’s post about the dangers of consuming aristolochic acid, I will add a bit more review on why Aristolochia plants are sometimes misidentified in Chinese medicine. Also, to commemorate DNA day this coming Wednesday, I will discuss the power of DNA sequencing in identifying ingredients, in this particular case, inside Chinese medicine.

(Do you know why April 25th is DNA day? In 1953, this was the day when the structure of DNA was published in the journal Nature.)

Aristolochic acid is a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) contained in some species of Aristolochia plants. These plants were commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine as anti-inflammatory or diuretic agents until their toxicity became known. Continue reading –>

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  1. Pingback: Dangers in herbal medicine — the link between Aristolochia plants and urinary tract cancer | Something About Science