Six cases are described of veno-occlusive disease (VOD) after medicinal herb ingestion. The herb Heliotropium eichwaldii, taken by three patients, was found to contain the toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid, heliotrine. Two patients presented with fulminant hepatic failure while the other four patients had a clinical picture suggestive of decompensated cirrhosis. The medical use of this herb may possibly be responsible for a significant proportion of acute and chronic liver disease in India, making it of public health importance.
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