Response to stories suggesting “herbal medicine has blasted leukaemia into submission”.

An article on Thursday 6th October in the Daily Mail had the headline, “Herbal drug kills leukaemia” while the online version of the story asked, “Could Chinese medicine cure leukaemia?”.

“The Daily Mail reports the discovery of a “herbal medicine” that has been used to successfully treat some acute myeloid leukaemias. This suggests patients have been cured by ingesting the herb itself. In reality, the patients take a dose of a purified form of a compound found in the herb (homoharringtonine). Chinese traditional or herbal medicine has been a source for some extremely successful new drugs, but to be effective the active ingredients must be purified from the Chinese plant or herb and then administered carefully, usually by injection.”

Published: 6 October 2016