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Information presented on this website is for educational purposes only.
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Philosophical Differences Between Western and Chinese Medicine:

Part 1: Western Medicine
Part 2: Traditional Chinese Medicine
Part 3: Modern Chinese Medicine

Liver Disorders
Hepatitis C
Liver Fibrosis
Alcoholic Hepatitis
Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) or Fatty Liver  
Auto-Immune Hepatitis
Cholestatic Hepatitis

Chronic Lyme Disease

IBS/Crohn's Disease


Modern Chinese Medicine and Supportive Therapies for Cancer Patients
Artemisinin and its Derivatives



Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease with Chinese Medicine

---- Alternative Herbal Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease----


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a general term for a group of chronic inflammatory disorders involving the gastrointestinal tract. It can be divided into two major groups, chronic ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). Clinically, these disorders are characterized by recurrent inflammatory involvement of intestinal segments with diverse clinical manifestations and often resulting in a chronic unpredictable course.

IBDs are more common in Caucasians than in blacks and asians with an increased incidence three- to six-fold in people of Jewish descent. Both sexes are equally affected. UC is a little more common than CD. The peak occurrence of IBD is between the ages of 15 to 35 and it has been reported in every decade of life.

The cause of IBD is still unknown. There may be several factors, such as genetic predisposition, infectious agent, and auto-immunity involved in its pathogenesis. The extraintestinal manifestations which may accompany these disorders, such as arthritis, pericholangitis may suggest auto-immune phenomena and that therapeutic agents, such as corticosteroids may exert their effects through immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.

The major clinical symptoms of UC and CD are similar with some distinctions. Bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, often with fever, anemia and weight loss in severe cases. With predominately rectal involvement, constipation rather than diarrhea may be present, and tenesmus may be a major complaint. For CD, less frequent bloody stool, more abdominal pain, palpable mass, stricture and fistulas. Extraintestinal symptoms are more common in CD than UC. About 25% of the IBD patients have joint involvement, range from arthralgia to acute arthritis with pain and swollen joints. About 15% of patients have skin disorders, rashes, canker sores of the mouth, etc. Abnormal liver functions are common in IBD cases. The long-term inflammation may cause severe complications, such as toxic megacolon, perforation, etc., and increase the probability of incidence of malignancy in the intestine.

Conventional medical treatments are primarily medical and use surgical intervention for "intractable" cases. The aim of the treatments is to control the inflammation. Anti-inflammatory, nutritional replacement, correction of electrolyte and fluid balance and anemia, stopping diarrhea are the major treatments. Severe acute cases need to be hospitalized. Majority of the IBD patients are chronically sick and under out-patient care. Since these patients need long term use of steroids, non-steroids anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as sulfasalazin, many of them develop complications, such as Cushing's Syndrome, low white blood cells, caused by the side effects of these drugs. Therefore, it is a necessity to develop a more cffective and less harmful alternative treatments for IBD. Chinese herbal medicine has been proven as an effective and safe alternative for IBD.

Chinese anti inflammatory and immune regulatory herbs, such as licorice and extracts of Mucunae Caulis, Sargentodoxae Caulis, and Paederiae Caulis are
very effective. In China, these herbs, especially their active ingredients, have been used to replace steroids and NSAID in many clinical conditions, In addition, Chinese herbal medicine has very effective herbal remedies to restore the gastrointestinal functions. In the literature of Traditional Chinese Medicine diseases like IBD were described in the topics as dysentery and diarrhea caused by "dampness and heat". and can be treated by "clear heat and transform dampness" method. To rebuild the digestive function, " supplement the spleen and fortify the stomach" method should be used. These herbal remedies can be administrated through mouth or by retention enema to directly treat the affected area. I have summarized 15 clinical studies conducted in Chinese hospitals. These studies used different Chinese herbal remedies and found the over all effective rate of treating IBD was above 90 percent. Among 757 patients treated in these studies, 600 of them have gotten clinical remission, the rate of clinical remission was 79.26 percent. One study included a four years follow up observation and found that patients using herbal treatments had a very low recurrence rate of 23.33 percent.

The treatment may last about three to six months. In order to regulate the bowel movement, acupuncture should be used. Usually patients will noticed the improvement within one week to 10 days. The herbs used in IBD treatments are very safe and very rarely have adverse reactions.

Thus, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are effective, safe and affordable treatments for IBDs.

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