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Stress remedy liver scare.

A HERBAL remedy used by thousands of people to prevent shyness has been withdrawn from shelves after it was linked with 30 cases of liver damage.

The Medicines Control Agency met organisations within the herbal food industry to agree on the voluntary withdrawal of Kava-kava and related products by January 1.

The decision follows evidence from Germany and Switzerland which has linked Kava-kava with 30 serious cases of liver damage.

The MCA, which monitors safety of all herbal remedies on behalf of the Government, said it was considering the regulatory position of the herb.

Patrick Holford, founder of the Institute of Optimum Nutrition, said: "The health food industry's decision to quarantine Kava-kava voluntarily and suspend sale of Kava related products would be sensible for a short period of time until there can be further investigations."

But Mr Holford said that information supplied on the cases in Germany and Switzerland had been inadequate to come to any conclusions about the safety of the herb.

He added: "It is one of the top-selling remedies for stress in the US and the UK and no cases of liver damage have been reported. It raises the question that certain forms used in Germany could be causing the problems."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 21, 2001
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