You might remember the the case in 1993, when 70 people suffered kidney failure in Belgium due to a weight loss clinic administering Guang Fang Ji in combination with other stimulants. It is believed that the kidney failure was associated with aristolochic acids the main chemical component of Guang Fang Ji.
Why bringing this up again? Because it is important that if you self dispense that you check the COA (Certificate of Analysis) for the right specie. Don’t leave this in the hands of your importer or wholesaler only, unless you know that he/she knows exactly what they are getting. It can be difficult to the untrained eye to differentiate species containing
Aristolochia with species not containing the possible carcinogen.
- not containing aristolochic acids are: Han Fan Ji (Stephaniae tetandra), Chuan Mu Tong (Clematis amandi), Chuan Mu Xiang (Vladimirae now called )
- containing aristolochic acids are: Guang Fan Ji (Aristolochia fangchi), Guan Mu Tong (Aristolochia mansuriensis), Qing Mu Xiang (Aristolochia debilis)
We always make sure that we receive a Certificate of Analysis for each of our new batches because even though the right specie was used for manufacturing granules or liquid extract, it’s still better to make sure that it has been tested for the absence of AA’s. Here is a very good article by Eric Brand on what to look for: http://www.bluepoppy.com/blog/blogs/blog1.php/mixed-fangji-jpg