Herbal hepatotoxicity: a tabular compilation of reported cases

Liver Int. 2012 Nov;32(10):1543-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2012.02864.x. Epub 2012 Aug 28.


Background: Herbal hepatotoxicity is a field that has rapidly grown over the last few years along with increased use of herbal products worldwide.

Aims: To summarize the various facets of this disease, we undertook a literature search for herbs, herbal drugs and herbal supplements with reported cases of herbal hepatotoxicity.

Methods: A selective literature search was performed to identify published case reports, spontaneous case reports, case series and review articles regarding herbal hepatotoxicity.

Results: A total of 185 publications were identified and the results compiled. They show 60 different herbs, herbal drugs and herbal supplements with reported potential hepatotoxicity, additional information including synonyms of individual herbs, botanical names and cross references are provided. If known, details are presented for specific ingredients and chemicals in herbal products, and for references with authors that can be matched to each herbal product and to its effect on the liver. Based on stringent causality assessment methods and/or positive re-exposure tests, causality was highly probable or probable for Ayurvedic herbs, Chaparral, Chinese herbal mixture, Germander, Greater Celandine, green tea, few Herbalife products, Jin Bu Huan, Kava, Ma Huang, Mistletoe, Senna, Syo Saiko To and Venencapsan(®). In many other publications, however, causality was not properly evaluated by a liver-specific and for hepatotoxicity-validated causality assessment method such as the scale of CIOMS (Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences).

Conclusions: This compilation presents details of herbal hepatotoxicity, assisting thereby clinical assessment of involved physicians in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / etiology*
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Phytotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects*
  • Plants, Medicinal / toxicity*


  • Plant Extracts