Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3597

Review

Aristolochic acids in herbal medicine: Public health concerns for consumption and poor regulation of botanical products in Nigeria and West Africa

Okhale S. E.
  • Okhale S. E.
  • Department of Medicinal Plant Research and Traditional Medicine, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, P. M. B. 21, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria.
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Egharevba H. O.
  • Egharevba H. O.
  • Department of Medicinal Plant Research and Traditional Medicine, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, P. M. B. 21, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria.
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Okpara O. J.
  • Okpara O. J.
  • Department of Biochemistry, School of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Pure and Applied Science,Kwara State University, Malete, P. M. B. 1530, Ilorin, Nigeria.
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Ugbabe G. E.
  • Ugbabe G. E.
  • Department of Chemistry, College of Sciences, University of Agriculture, P. M. B. 2373, Makurdi, Nigeria.
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Ibrahim J. A.
  • Ibrahim J. A.
  • Department of Biochemistry, School of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Pure and Applied Science,Kwara State University, Malete, P. M. B. 1530, Ilorin, Nigeria.
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Fatokum O. T.
  • Fatokum O. T.
  • Department of Chemistry, College of Sciences, University of Agriculture, P. M. B. 2373, Makurdi, Nigeria.
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Sulyman A. O.
  • Sulyman A. O.
  • Department of Biochemistry, School of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Pure and Applied Science,Kwara State University, Malete, P. M. B. 1530, Ilorin, Nigeria.
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Igoli J. O.
  • Igoli J. O.
  • Department of Chemistry, College of Sciences, University of Agriculture, P. M. B. 2373, Makurdi, Nigeria.
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  •  Received: 18 October 2018
  •  Accepted: 04 November 2018
  •  Published: 10 February 2019

Abstract

Aristolochic acids are naturally occurring biomolecules found in plants of the genus Aristolochia and Asarum belonging to the family Aristolochiaceae. They are reported to be carcinogenic and nephrotoxic; and are implicated in kidney diseases, aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN) which may result in kidney failure, other health complications and possibly death. Aristolochic acids are highly genotoxic and are linked to upper urothelial cancer in animals and humans. Some Aristolochia species are used in traditional medicine practice in Nigeria and other West African countries without regard to safety concerns.  Several  countries,  especially  in  the  Western  world,  have  banned  the  use  and importation of herbal products containing aristolochic acids. There is need for warning and strict regulation on the importation and consumption of aristolochic acids-containing botanical products in Nigeria. This study aims to review the availability of aristolochic acids, their toxicity, circulation, as well as the quantitative analytical techniques and regulations. It analyzes the herbal products containing aristolochic acids, and aristolochaceae plants grown in Nigeria in respect to public health implications. It highlights the importance of doing an extensive study on indigenous plants producing aristolochic acids and imported herbal products used as weight loss supplements marketed in Nigeria. There is need to emphasize the labeling of herbal products containing aristolochic acids.

Key words: Aristolochic acid, herbal medicine, Nigeria, aristolochaceae, toxicity, regulation.