Herbal medicines could treat gastrointestinal disease

Mar 25, 2009

Herbal medicines could benefit patients suffering from gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders that cannot be treated using conventional drug therapy. In a study published in Neurogastroenterology and Motility, researchers reviewed data on Japanese herbal medicines and found them to be effective in reducing the symptoms of GI disorders such as functional dyspepsia, constipation, and postoperative ileus.

"Japanese have been used in East Asia for thousands of years," says lead researcher Hidekazu Suzuki, Associate Professor at the Keio University School of Medicine. "Our review of the world medical literature reveals that herbal medicines serve a valuable role in the management of patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders."

Many of the drugs used to treat GI motility disorders are ineffective or cause unwanted side effects and, in some cases, this has led to drugs being withdrawn from the market. Herbal medicine is an attractive alternative.

The researchers reviewed data from studies looking at the effect of several different Japanese herbal medicines including the use of Rikkunshi-to, Dai-Kenchu-to, and other herbal medicines. Rikkunshi-to, which is prepared from eight crude herbs, was effective in reducing discomfort caused by functional dyspepsia. Dai-Kenchu-to, a mixture of ginseng, ginger, and zanthoxylum fruit, was beneficial for constipation in children and patients suffering from post-operative ileus - disruption of normal bowel movements following an operation. Another herbal medicine, hangeshashin-to, reduced the severity and frequency of diarrhoea caused by anti-cancer drugs.

In Japan, herbal medicine is manufactured in standardised form with regards to quality and quantity of ingredients. The researchers say the health benefits of standardised formulations of herbal medicines require more rigorous examination, particularly in the Western world.

"There is a mandate to provide accurate data regarding the effectiveness of non-traditional therapy, not only to our patients but also to healthcare providers who face the dilemma of recommending or opposing management strategies that incorporate herbal medicine," says Suzuki.

Source: Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: Merck, Iowa firm sign Ebola vaccine licensing deal (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study looks at Chinese herb use for SARS

Jan 25, 2006

Scientists at the West China Hospital in Sichuan say they've found the addition of Chinese herbs to current SARS therapy does not decrease death rates.

Recommended for you

Powdered measles vaccine found safe in early clinical trials

18 hours ago

A measles vaccine made of fine dry powder and delivered with a puff of air triggered no adverse side effects in early human testing and it is likely effective, according to a paper to be published November 28 in the journal ...

Health care M&A leads global deal surge

Nov 23, 2014

In a big year for deal making, the health care industry is a standout. Large drugmakers are buying and selling businesses to control costs and deploy surplus cash. A rising stock market, tax strategies and ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VOR
not rated yet Mar 25, 2009
The safest, most effective, and overall best choice for constiptation is usually magnesium supplementation.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.