Kava comes under scrutiny; reports of safety problems with kava-kava prompt an FDA warning – Natural Medicine – Brief Article
THE FDA RECENTLY RELEASED AN advisory about the anti-anxiety herb kava-kava, suggesting that people who have liver problems consult their doctors before taking it. The warning stems from an analysis of 26 case reports claiming a link between liver damage and kava-kava,
Prior to the FDA’s advisory, Canada and some European countries had issued general warnings about kava-kava and had pulled it from store shelves. Rob McCaleb, president of the nonprofit Herb Research Foundation in Boulder, Colo., says he doesn’t know why those countries did that. He believes the FDA advisory was made hastily because it isn’t clear that kava-kava damages the liver. Most of the patients had preexisting liver problems or were taking medications that were toxic to their liver, according to the case report analysis.
Steven Dentali, Ph.D., vice president for scientific and technical affairs at the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) in Silver Spring, Md., says the FDA’s advisory was appropriate. AHPA now recommends that kava-kava makers include a liver warning on their products.
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