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Chinese Herbs Safety Project

With the aim of providing information about adverse events associated with herbal medicine, we conducted a pilot for a national survey project to assess the level of safety for patients receiving treatment with Chinese herbs. Our wider goal is to help patients make informed choices about treatment and provide policy makers with robust evidence on safety as a contribution to decision-making on widening access within the NHS.              

In collaboration with MSc student Bin Liu and practitioner members of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine, 72 herbal practitioners helped us recruit 170 patients. Of these, 126 (74%) have provided us with details of adverse events that they associated with taking Chinese herbal medicine over a four week period. No serious adverse events were reported, and fatigue was the most commonly reported minor adverse event. Recommendations for a full-scale study were also made, see MacPherson & Liu (2005), MacPherson & Liu (2006).



Key publications:

MacPherson H, Liu B. The safety of Chinese herbal medicine: a pilot for a national survey.  Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine 2005; 11(4): 617-626.

MacPherson H, Liu B. What patients report on adverse reactions to prescribed Chinese herbal medicine. Register for Chinese Herbal Medicine Journal. 2006, March, 33-37.


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