A number of researchers have looked at at an herbal ingredient called aristolochic acid, or AA. It comes from plants, including wild ginger (Asarum canadense), that have been used in Chinese medicine to treat “stomach ailments, to restore a woman’s energy after the birth of a child, to treat cough, allergy and breathing problems, and in some weight-loss formula.
Aristolochic acids are a family of carcinogenic, mutagenic, and nephrotoxic compounds commonly found in the Aristolochiaceae family of plants, including Aristolochia and Asarum, which are commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine. Aristolochic acid I is the most abundant of the aristolochic acids and is found in almost all Aristolochia species. Aristolochic acids may be a causative agent in Balkan nephropathy.