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Doctors warn high doses of Chong Cao can cause kidney failure

Jan 12. 2021
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By THE NATION

The Rural Doctors Society has warned that Chong Cao (Cordyceps), a traditional Chinese remedy for the kidneys, can cause renal failure if taken in high doses.

The society urged the government to monitor companies who advertise products made from Chong Cao, which is also sold as an aphrodisiac. Sales of the herbal remedy – which is derived from a fungus that feeds on caterpillars and can be high in arsenic – are strictly regulated in China.

In Thailand, Chong Cao is advertised as a remedy for kidney disease and is especially popular among elderly people.

However, according to the Rural Doctor Society’s Facebook page, Chong Cao can suppress kidney function.

On Tuesday, the society cited a recent article published in “Chalat Sue” (Buy Smartly) health magazine by Dr Mayuree Tangkiatkumjai from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Srinakharinwirot University.

Dr Mayuree said low estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) were detected among a group of kidney patients who took Chong Cao once a day for a month. However, when they stopped taking Chong Cao, their kidney eGFR recovered to healthier levels.

The Rural Doctor Society thus urged the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to prevent advertisements related to Chong Cao from exaggerating the products’ qualities.

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