by Huisheng Xie, DVM, PhD, MS
Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) has been administered to animals in China for more than 4,000 years.1 Many clinical studies have indicated that CHM is effective for treating a wide variety of medical conditions in the areas of cardiology2, dermatology3, endocrinology4, gastroenterology5, reproduction6, oncology7, immunology8, pulmonology9 and musculoskeletal conditions10. However, Chinese herbs are drugs. We must treat them as pharmaceutical medications. As CHM is more widely used for the treatment and prevention of various diseases in both humans and animals in the United States and other western countries, reports of adverse reactions related to CHMs have increased.11-14 Therefore, toxicity and safety of CHM is one of the most important topics in veterinary practice. This article focuses on the analysis of the toxicity of Chinese herbs in order that toxic herbs can be identified, and properly prepared and used to reduce the incidence of adverse events.