Liver injury as a result of natural remedies

Natural remedies contain ingredients that can, in rare cases, lead to a liver injury. These have a broad spectrum, usually there is a slight to moderate increase in liver values, but severe courses up to acute liver failure have also been described. Possible liver-damaging properties have been found in, among others: Green tea extracts, celandine, kava kava, sea pigeon, gamander, club moss, chaparral, polemint, mint, mulberry, bird thistle, ox eye daisy, gum thistle, buckthorn, licorice root, and numerous herbs and teas containing pyrolizidine alkaloids. Liver damage has also been linked to dietary supplements used for weight loss, for example. When reactions to natural remedies arise, they usually occur within a few weeks or months.


In the event of liver damage caused by natural remedies, the following symptoms may occur: Loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, fever, pain in the upper abdomen, joint pain, muscle ache, itching, reddening of the skin, jaundice, pale stools or dark urine.


Liver damage as a result of natural remedies is difficult to predict. A risk from natural remedies can also occur, among other things, because of a genetic predisposition or if conventional medicines are taken at the same time. Information on natural remedies will be included in the instruction leaflet. Taking natural remedies should be discussed with your doctor who will be able to check for possible interactions between other medicines you are taking. For safety reasons, natural remedies should not be obtained from an unsafe source (e.g., obscure websites), as they may be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or chemical drugs, among other things. To avoid negative effects on your health, the natural remedy should be stopped immediately if liver damage is suspected and medical assistance sought. Medical examination can rule out the possibility of other liver diseases.


The first line treatment is stopping the natural remedy. If toxic liver injury has already occurred, it generally resolves spontaneously over time. In very rare cases, it leads to acute liver failure.