Chinese herbal medicine following laparoscopic surgery in Endometriosis patients achieved better symptom control compared to conventional medication danazol and was comparable to gestrinone. Furthermore, it the patients taking Chinese medicine reported fewer side-effects.

Andrew Flower, PhD, of Southampton University in Ringmer, England, reported the findings in the Cochrane Reviews.

Chinese herbal medicine provides significant pain relief for women with menstrual cramps, researchers from University of Western Sydney show.

Women with period pains are often offered either non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or oral contraceptives. Both of the options have drawbacks including the short and long term side-effects. Many women find these treatments don’t work or that they would prefer a natural alternative.

A review of 39 controlled trials in 3,475 women found that Chinese herbal medicine was superior to pharmaceutical drugs providing significant pain relief. It relieved overall symptoms even better than acupuncture.

There was no indication that Chinese herbal medicine caused any adverse events, making it the first choice for relieving menstrual cramps. (image by)

Researchers from Hong Kong confirmed that Chinese medicine effectively relieve eczema in children. 42 kids who took the Chinese medicine had their eczema improved and their use of corticosteroids was reduced. Other 43 kids suffering from eczema took a placebo did not observe the same effect.

The paper was published in the August issue of the British Journal of Dermatology.
The Chinese medicine (five herbs) used to relieve eczema were Flos lonicerae (Jinyinhua), Herba menthae (Bohe), Cortex moutan (Danpi), Rhizoma atractylodis (Cangzhu) and Cortex phellodendri (Huangbai).

Bitter melon, a delicacy, which I enjoyed so much, when I lived in China has many healing properties. It is known to lower blood sugar it is also known for its’ anti-cancer properties.

Now a team of Chinese scientists discovered that prepared in traditional way extract can increase the insulin production by 160% and has repairing effects on pancreatic ?-cells, responsible for insulin production. Good news for diabetes sufferers. But don’t necessarily expect these effects from fresh bitter melon. To have these properties the melon has to be dried and decocted (cooked) traditional way.

Researchers from Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 7 studies on use of Chinese herbs for schizophrenia:

  • The overall response favoured combining herbal medicine plus antipsychotic drugs vs using antipsychotic drugs alone.
  • Significantly fewer people getting combined treatment left the study early compared with those given antipsychotics alone.
  • Combined treatment group had reduced side effects (like constipation) of the anipsychotic drugs.

Results suggest that combining Chinese herbal medicine with antipsychotics is beneficial.

There was increasing evidence that Lei Gong Teng (Radix Tripterygii Wilfordii) treats arthritis effectively. It has been used to treat cancer, inflammation, and auto-immune diseases and, more recently, also has been tested in Phase I clinical trials as an anti-tumour agent. This new study found that this Chinese medicine also may stop cyst formation in polycystic kidney disease.

The research holds out hope for what would be the first treatment for the disease other than kidney transplant or frequent dialysis.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by researcher Dr. Craig Crews at Yale University.

“If we were able to slow the rate of cyst formation by even 10 percent a year, compounded annually, patients would not die from this disease. A relatively small effect would have an enormous clinical benefit,” Crews said.

Chinese herbal medicine can protect the immune systems of breast cancer patients and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy,  a group of Cochrane Collaboration scientists said yesterday.

Scientists analysed data from seven studies involving 542 women with breast cancer.

They concluded that Chinese medicines may safely reduce the immuno-suppressive side effects of powerful anti-cancer drugs.

A number of Chinese medicinal herbal mixtures and compounds are prescribed to counteract the unwanted effects of chemotherapy.

Three of the studies showed improvements to white blood cells, key elements of the immune system. Two appeared to have had a general positive effect on quality of life.

In their paper published by the Cochrane Library, the researchers said: “The results suggest that using Chinese herbs in conjunction with chemotherapy or CHM alone may be beneficial in terms of improvements in bone marrow suppression and immune system, and may improve overall state of quality of life.”

The researchers also said further trials were needed before the effects of traditional Chinese medicines on women with breast cancer could be evaluated with any confidence.

In a separate study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that an extract of triphala, the dried and powdered fruits of three plants, caused pancreatic tumours to die in mice.

Traditional Chinese medicine for diabetes has scientific backing Reports of a traditional Chinese medicine having beneficial effects for people suffering from type 2 diabetes now has some scientific evidence to back up the claims.

A collaboration between Chinese, Korean, and Australian scientists at Sydney’s Garvan Institute, has revealed that the natural plant product berberine could be a valuable new treatment. Berberine is found in the roots and bark of a number of plants used for medicinal purposes including wound healing and treatment of diarrhoea.

It has also been documented in Chinese literature as having a glucose lowering effect when administered to people with diabetes; yet, until now, its mode of action was unknown.

Garvan scientist Dr Jiming Ye says: “Our studies in animal models of diabetes show that berberine acts in part by activating an enzyme in the muscle and liver that is involved in improving sensitivity of the tissue to insulin – this in turn helps lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it seems berberine can help reduce body weight”. Current medicines for treating type 2 diabetes include metformin and the TZD group of drugs.

However, a large number of patients cannot tolerate metformin and the TZDs can cause undesirable weight gain. Therefore, it is critical to develop new therapies to treat type 2 diabetes, which is a growing health problem.

“Berberine has been used for decades, if not centuries, with few reported side effects. Given the limitations of existing medicines we are excited to have evidence that berberine may be a helpful new treatment for type 2 diabetes; however, despite its widespread use in traditional medicine practices, it will still have to be evaluated properly following the defined clinical trials process”, said Professor James, head of the Garvan’s Diabetes & Obesity Research Program and co-author of the Diabetes paper.

The next step is to investigate how berberine activates the enzyme that mediates these ‘insulin-sensitising’ effects.

NOTES: This study will be published in the August issue of ‘Diabetes’. The title is: Berberine, a natural plant product, activates AMP-activated protein kinase with beneficial metabolic effects in diabetic and insulin resistant states. Yun S. Lee, Woo S. Kim,Kang H. Kim, Myung J. Yoon, Hye J. Cho, Yun Shen, Ji-Ming Ye, Chul H. Lee, Won K. Oh, Chul T. Kim, Cordula Hohnen-Behrens, Alison Gosby, Edward W. Kraegen, David E. James, and Jae B. Kim

More on Chinese Medicine (Gardenia fruit) and diabetes.