Acupuncture and TCM herb relieve chronic Ulcerative Colitis
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This disorder is an inflammatory disease of the intestines that most commonly affects the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. It is a contiguous expanses of inflamed tissue that may spread deeply into affected regions. Biomedical treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppression and surgical removal of parts of the intestines. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a combination of acupuncture and herbs are used to treat this disorder.

TCM case histories for the successful treatment of chronic ulcerative colitis date back over 1,000 years. This new research confirms what has been included in standard Chinese Medicine texts for millennia. The approach taken in this recent study was to combine an herbal enema with standard acupuncture therapy. The herbal enema was comprised of a Bai Tou Weng and Ku Shen decoction. A control group was given only sulfasalazine, an antibiotic used in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

The researchers discovered two major findings. First, the acupuncture combined with herbal medicine group had significantly better patient outcomes than the drug group. Second, the acupuncture combined with herbal medicine group seldom had any side effects whereas the drug group experienced adverse effects from the antibiotic treatment. All results were taken from a sample size of 62 patients with chronic ulcerative colitis that were randomly divided into the acupuncture-herb group and the sulfasalazine antibiotic group. This study was recently published in the Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine.

Historically, Traditional Chinese Medicine documents a great many successes in the treatment of ulcerative colitis using internal herbal tea decoctions for oral consumption as a medicinal beverage. The use of the formulas is based on a differential diagnosis of a patient’s condition. The following is a short list of common herbal formulas used in TCM clinics for the treatment of chronic ulcerative colitis: Bai Tou Weng Tang, Bai Zhu Shao Yao San, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang, Fu Zi Li Zhong Wan, Ge Gen Huang Lian Huang Qin Tang, Ge Gen Qin Lian Tang, Huai Hua San, Jian Pi Wan, Shao Yao Tang, Tong Xie Yao Fang, Zhen Ren Huo Ming Yin.

The medicinal functions of these formulas varies enormously and a skilled licensed acupuncturist trained in herbal medicine is able to determine the appropriate choice given a patient’s specific condition. Severe infectious stages of chronic ulcerative colitis may require an anti-toxin formula such as Bai Tou Weng Tang whereas chronic stages characterized by patient fatigue may require a tonifying herbal formula such as Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang.

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