Herbal detox programmes, which are gaining in popularity, can be associated with potential serious adverse effects

In December 2018 researchers from the USA published a case report involving a 67-year-old man who developed severe hyponatraemia after starting a five-day kidney detox programme. Hyponatraemia is a low level of sodium (less than 135 mmol/L) in the blood and can cause neurological impairment as well as cerebral oedema if left untreated. In this case report the individual was drinking over a gallon (128 fl oz) of fluid daily, herbal tea with Uva Ursi leaves, juniper berries and several other ingredients. On the last day of his detox programme, the individual attended A&E with neurological symptoms and a blood test revealed a critically low sodium level of 111 mmol/L. The researchers concluded by stating that herbal detox programmes which are gaining in popularity, partly due to their ease of access over the counter, can be associated with potential serious adverse effects.

Soliman M et al. Acute Severe Hyponatremia as a Serious Health Implication of Herbal Detox Regimens. Cureus. 2018 Dec 6;10(12):e3697.

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