The effect of traditional Japanese medicine (Kampo) on gastrointestinal function

Department of General Surgical Science, Graduate School of Medicine, Gunma University, 3-39-22 Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma, 371-8511, Japan.
Surgery Today (Impact Factor: 1.53). 12/2010; 40(12):1105-11. DOI: 10.1007/s00595-010-4388-8
Source: PubMed


Traditional Japanese medicine (Kampo) is used to treat various disorders of the gastrointestinal tract in Japan, where it is fully integrated into the modern healthcare system. Recently, scientific research on herbal medicine in Japan has been reported in English journals. The objective of the current review is to introduce two traditional Japanese medicines and to provide evidenced-based information regarding their use. Daikenchuto, which consists of three different herbs, is the most frequently prescribed traditional Japanese medicine in Japan. Daikenchuto stimulates gastrointestinal motility though a neural reflex involving presynaptic cholinergic and 5-HT3 receptors. Daikenchuto improves postoperative bowel motility and postoperative ileus. Furthermore, it is reported to cause an increase in gastrointestinal hormones (motilin, vasoactive intestinal peptide, and calcitonin gene-related peptide) and intestinal blood flow. Rikkunshito, a traditional Japanese medicine consisting of eight herbs, is thought to stimulate gastrointestinal motility and ghrelin secretion. Rikkunshito is effective for improving the symptoms of functional dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and cisplatin-induced anorexia and vomiting. Traditional Japanese medicine has the potential to be used successfully in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Details regarding the physiological and clinical effects of traditional Japanese medicine must be further examined in order to become more widely accepted in other countries.

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    • "Traditional Japanese medicine, including the use of Kampo medicines, has been practiced for 1500 years. These formulas are intended not only to help recover the natural balance of the human body, but also treat the body’s impairments, such as indigestion and fatigue [1]. Kampo medicine is practiced widely and is integrated with Western medicine in Japan. "
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    ABSTRACT: Kampo medicines are currently manufactured under strict quality controls. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan has approved 148 Kampo formulas. There is increasing evidence for the efficacy of Kampo medicines, and some are used clinically for palliative care in Japan. The specific aim of this review is to evaluate the clinical use of Kampo medicines in palliative care in the treatment of cancer. The conclusions are as follows: Juzentaihoto inhibits the progression of liver tumors in a dose-dependent manner and contributes to long-term survival. Hochuekkito has clinical effects on cachexia for genitourinary cancer and improves the QOL and immunological status of weak patients, such as postoperative patients. Daikenchuto increases intestinal motility and decreases the postoperative symptoms of patients with total gastrectomy with jejunal pouch interposition, suppresses postoperative inflammation following surgery for colorectal cancer, and controls radiation-induced enteritis. Rikkunshito contributes to the amelioration of anorectic conditions in cancer cachexia-anorexia syndrome. Goshajinkigan and Shakuyakukanzoto reduce the neurotoxicity of patients with colorectal cancer who undergo oxaliplatin and FOLFOX (5-fluorouracil/folinic acid plus oxaliplatin) therapy. Hangeshashinto has the effect of preventing and alleviating diarrhea induced by CPT-11(irinotecan) and combination therapy with S-1/CPT-11. O'rengedokuto significantly improves mucositis caused by anticancer agents.
    BioPsychoSocial Medicine 01/2014; 8(1):6. DOI:10.1186/1751-0759-8-6
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    • "Rikkunshito was also reported to coordinate gastric myoelectric activity in patients with dyspeptic symptoms after gastrointestinal surgery [28] and to stimulate gastrointestinal motility in dogs [29,30]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article reviews the effectiveness of Kampo (traditional Japanese herbal medicine) in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders, especially functional dyspepsia (FD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The results of four randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) suggested the usefulness of rikkunshito in relieving the subjective symptoms of patients with FD. Rikkunshito significantly improved not only gastric symptoms, such as epigastiric discomfort, but also extra-gastric symptoms, such as general fatigue, when compared with control drugs. The therapeutic effects of rikkunshito were more evident when it was prescribed to patients with “kyosho”, i.e., low energy. Two RCTs suggested the efficacy of keishikashakuyakuto for IBS. Basic research studies have demonstrated that these Kampo medicines have multiple sites of action to improve subjective symptoms. For example, rikkunshito improves gastric motility dysfunction, including impaired adaptive relaxation and delayed gastric emptying, gastric hypersensitivity, and anorexia via facilitation of ghrelin secretion. It also exhibits anti-stress effects, i.e., it attenuates stress-induced exacerbation of gastric sensation and anorexia, as well as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis and sympathetic activation. Keishikashakuyakuto exhibited not only an antispasmodic effect on intestinal smooth muscle, but also antidepressant-like effects. Case series suggest that other Kampo prescriptions are also effective for FD and IBS. However, further studies are necessary to evaluate their efficacy.
    BioPsychoSocial Medicine 01/2014; 8(1):5. DOI:10.1186/1751-0759-8-5
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