Tibetan and Indian herbal medicines may help people with IBS
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Wed Jan 25 07:07:39 PST 2006
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Public release date: 24-Jan-2006
Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar at wiley.com
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Chinese, Tibetan and Indian herbal medicines may help people with
irritable bowel syndrome
Traditional herbal medicines may improve symptoms of abdominal pain,
disturbed bowel movements, and/or bloating and distension caused by
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This was the conclusion of a systematic
review of clinical studies that is published in the latest update of The
Authors searched for studies that evaluated the effectiveness of
traditional herbs including Chinese, Tibetan and Indian herbal medicines
and found 75 different randomised trials. The trials varied in quality,
and investigated a wide range of different preparations. Most of the
trials had been conducted in China and published in Chinese.
"Many of the trials were small, so it is premature to recommend herbal
medicines for routine use in IBS, but there is evidence that some of the
medicines did improve the global symptoms of IBS," says lead Review
Author Prof Jianping Liu, who works both at the Evidence-based Chinese
Medicine Centre for Clinical Research and Evaluation at Beijing
University of Chinese Medicine, and at the National Research Centre in
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM), University of Tromso,
Medicines that showed promise included Chinese herbal formulation and
individualised herbal formulation; STW 5; SW 5_ii; as well as Tibetan
herbal formula Padma Lax. The Chinese herbal medicine Tongxie Yaofang
showed a statistically significant effect on global symptoms, as did the
Indian Ayurvedic formula of two herbs.
Six small trials reported that combining conventional and herbal
medicines produced greater benefits than using conventional therapies
alone, but the Authors believe that larger trials are needed to confirm
"There is a great need for further rigorously conducted trials that look
to see whether it is possible to replicate these positive effects," says
One of the problems with comparing the results of different trials is
the wide range of formulas used, and the imprecision with which
different medicines are prepared. "For these trials to be useful they
must also improve the description of the herbal medicines being tested,"
adds Prof Liu.
1. Review Paper: Liu JP, Yang M, Liu YX, Wei ML, Grimsgaard S. Herbal
medicines for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. The Cochrane
Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004116.pub2.
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