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The Journal of Internal Korean Medicine > Volume 30(1); 2009 > Article
The Journal of Internal Korean Medicine 2009;30(1): 153-172.
한약 복용이 간기능에 미치는 영향 : 국내 문헌에 대한 체계적 고찰
윤영주1, 신병철2, 이명수3, 조성일4, 신우진5, 박히준6, 이혜정6
1경희대학교 동서의학대학원 동서의학과
2부산대학교 한의학전문대학원 한방재활의학과
3한국한의학연구원 의료연구부
4서울대학교 보건대학원 및 보건환경연구소
5삼세한방병원 내과
6경희대학교 한의과대학 경혈학교실 및 침구경락과학연구센터
Korean Herbal Medicine on Liver Function : A Systematic Review in Korean Literature
Young-ju Yun1, Byung-cheul Shin2, Myeong-soo Lee3, Sung-il Cho4, Woo-jin Shin5, Hi-joon Park6, Hye-jung Lee6
1Dept. of East-West Medicine, Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Kyung-hee University
2Dept. of Oriental Rehabilitation Medicine, School of Oriental Medicine, Pu-san National University
3Dept. of Medical Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine
4Seoul National University School of Public Health and Institute for Health and Environment
5Sam-se Traditional Korean Hospital
6Dept. of Meridian & Acupoints and Acupuncture & Meridian Science Research Center, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung-hee University
  Published online: March 30, 2009.
The safety of Korean herbal Medicine (KHM: prescribed herbal medicine by doctors of traditional Korean medicine) is an important issue in Korea. Although both fields, western medicine and traditional Korean medicine, have been studied on the safety of herbs and KHM, their results were not concordance with each other.

This study aims to review the influence of KHM on liver function in Korean literature systematically. Additionally, we tried to estimate the change of data of liver function test (LFT) and the incidence of liver injury (LI) after the use of KHM.

Methods :
Systematic literature searches were performed on 4 major databases of Korea from their inception to May 2008. Screening and selection of the studies and the extraction of data were performed independently by two authors. There were no restrictions on the types of publication including grey literatures.

Forty studies were included. Only sixteen studies were performed prospectively and fifteen studies collected data from outpatients. Only 8 studies reported the occurrence of LI after the use of KHM. Nineteen cases of LI showed no or mild symptoms and the elevation of LFT was not high. All of LI patients used conventional western drug and KHM concomitantly, and causality of LI was not assessed properly. The incidence of LI related to the use of KHM was estimated as 0.59%-0.76% from all data of these studies. The conflicting results were shown on the change of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and total bilirubin (TB) after the use of KHM.

KHM might be a minor cause of LI in Korea. However the results are not strongly supported as enough to make the safety issue clear because of the limitations of original studies. More rigorous studies are required for answering the safety issue of KHM with the cooperative investigation of both fields of Korean traditional medicine and western medicine.
Key words: Korean herbal medicine, herbs, liver function, liver injury, systematic review
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