Shen Min side effects by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
February 5 2014
Shen-Min is a Chinese herb formula with a mixture of several plants and vitamins including Polygonum multiflorum, a root that has been previously associated with hepatotoxicity.
Acute hepatitis due to shen-min: a herbal product derived from Polygonum
J Clin Gastroenterol. 2006. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe and Gastro-Hepatology Group, University of Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.
Shen-Min is a herbal product sold as a supplement for women to enhance hair growth. It is widely available across Asia, Europe, and the United States and sold without prescription as a hair nutritional supplement. We describe a case of acute liver injury in a 28-year-old white woman who developed symptomatic hepatitis 8 weeks after starting Shen-Min. All other potential causes of acute hepatitis including viral, hypoxic/ischemic, metabolic, and autoimmune etiologies were excluded. The liver injury slowly resolved over 3 weeks after discontinuing the herbal product. Although the mechanism of Shen-Min hepatotoxicity is unknown, we suspect an idiosyncratic reaction because the patient developed a fine maculopapular rash, mild eosinophilia, and did not overdose. To our knowledge this is the first reported case of herbal-induced hepatotoxicity in a patient taking Shen-Min per se. Clinicians taking care of patients with acute hepatitis of unclear etiology should be aware that the consumption of Shen-Min, a hair supplement widely available in the United States and Western countries might cause acute hepatitis.
Comments: It is not fully clear whether He Shoo Wu or the other plants, or the combination, in this product were involved in damaging the liver.
Shen Min Herbal ingredients
Shen Min 12:1 Standardized Extract (Polygonum Mutiflorum)
He Shou Wu Root Powder
Black Cohosh Root
Horse Chestnut Extract
Ginkgo Biloba Leaf
Uva Ursi Root Extract