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Scientific Review of Aristolochic Acids

Status: Listed in the Report on Carcinogens (RoC)
Fact Sheet

Primary Uses or Exposures: Aristolochic acids are nitrophenanthrene carboxylic acids found primarily in the Aristolochiaceae family of plants. Botanical products containing aristolochic acids have been used in traditional herbal medicine as antirheumatics, as diuretics, in the treatment of edema, in wound healing, in obstetrics (to facilitate childbirth), and for other conditions such as hemorrhoids, cough, and asthma. Aristolochic acids have been detected in plants of both the Aristolochia (notably A. clematitis, A. contorta, A. debilis, A. fangchi, A. indica, A. manshuriensis, and A. serpentaria) and Asarum genera of the family Aristolochiaceae.

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