New research suggests that gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders that do not respond to conventional therapies may be successfully treated with herbal medicines.
Japanese scientists reviewed data on Japanese herbal medicines and found they were effective in reducing the symptoms of GI disorders such as dyspepsia, constipation and postoperative ileus.
Some of the products they analyzed included Rikkunshi-to, effective in reducing discomfort caused by functional dyspepsia, and Dai-Kenchu-to, a mixture of ginseng, ginger and zanthoxylum fruit, that is beneficial for constipation in children and patients who had a surgery.
Another herbal medicine, hangeshashin-to, was found to reduce the severity and frequency of diarrhea caused by anti-cancer drugs.
The importance of the findings stems from the fact that many traditional drugs are ineffective in GI disorders, may cause unpleasant side effects and some have even been withdrawn from the market.
Lead researcher Hidekazu Suzuki, associate professor at the Keio University School of Medicine, says Japanese herbal medicines have been a staple of oriental medicine for thousands of years.
The study was published in the journal Neurogastroenterology and Motility.