CLINICAL APPLICATIONS

* Peptic ulcer disease (gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer)

* Gastritis

* Acid reflux with heartburn, foul breath, bitter taste in the mouth, indigestion

* Generalized gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as nausea, vomiting, indigestion, belching, bloating, epigastric fullness, and food sensitivities.

 

WESTERN THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS

* Antiulcer effect to decrease production and release of gastric acid

* Antacid effect to neutralize gastric acid

* Antibiotic effect against Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

* Analgesic effect to relieve pain

* Gastroprotective effect to restore normal digestion and gastrointestinal functions

 

CHINESE THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS

* Quells Stomach fire

* Spreads Liver qi stagnation and relieves pain

* Strengthens middle jiao to promote digestion

 

DOSAGE

Take 4 capsules three times daily on an empty stomach one to two hours before meals. For maximum effect, advise the patient to lie down for 10 minutes following ingestion of GI Care.

 

INGREDIENTS


Bai Hua She She Cao (Herba Hedyotis)

Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Alba)

Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri)

Di Yu (Radix Sanguisorbae)

Hai Piao Xiao (Endoconcha Sepiae)

Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis)

Huang Qi (Radix Astragali)

Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae)

Pu Gong Ying (Herba Taraxaci)

Sha Ren (Fructus Amomi)

Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata)

Wu Bei Zi (Galla Chinensis)

Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae)

Xiang Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi)

Yan Hu Suo (Rhizoma Corydalis)

Zhe Bei Mu (Bulbus Fritillariae Thunbergii)


 

BACKGROUND

Gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastritis, gastric reflux, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer, are common disorders caused by many factors, such as infection (H. pylori), lifestyle (stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol), diet (spicy and pungent food), and drugs (NSAIDs). These factors damage mucosa and disrupt its defense and repair functions. As a result, various parts of the gastrointestinal tract may be affected, such as the esophagus (gastroesophageal reflux disease), stomach (gastritis, gastric ulcer) and duodenum (duodenal ulcer). Optimal treatment requires lifestyle changes, diet modifications, and medical intervention to treat the infection and repair mucosal damage.

 

FORMULA EXPLANATION

Gastrointestinal disorders are complex patterns of imbalance characterized by both excess and deficiency: excess refers to the Stomach heat (hyperacidity), and yin deficiency refers to the damaged mucosa of the digestive tract. This condition may be caused by external factors (infection, alcohol, smoking, drugs) or internal conditions (stress). Therefore, herbs are used in this formula to clear heat, regulate Liver qi circulation, strengthen the Stomach, and restore normal digestive functions.

        Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) drains fire from the Stomach and the Liver. Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae) directs the Stomach qi downward to treat vomiting, nausea and acid regurgitation. Hai Piao Xiao (Endoconcha Sepiae), Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Alba), and Zhe Bei Mu (Bulbus Fritillariae Thunbergii) are used to neutralize excessive stomach acid and ease heartburn. Yan Hu Suo (Rhizoma Corydalis) has antiulcer as well as strong analgesic effects similar to those of morphine and codeine. Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae), Bai Hua She She Cao (Herba Hedyotis), and Pu Gong Ying (Herba Taraxaci) have an antibacterial effect that clears heat and eliminates toxins. Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae) has also been shown through research to be effective against H. pylori, a bacteria known to cause gastritis, gastric ulcer, and duodenal ulcer. Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) tonifies the Spleen, augments the qi, and is essential in rebuilding the gastrointestinal system. Sha Ren (Fructus Amomi) promotes the movement of qi, strengthens the Stomach and helps with gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal distension, pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Di Yu (Radix Sanguisorbae) and Wu Bei Zi (Galla Chinensis) provide a coating for the stomach and are used to stop bleeding, generate flesh and expedite the recovery of peptic and duodenal ulcers. Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata) aids digestion and protects the stomach lining. Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri) and Xiang Fu (Rhizoma Cyperi) spread the constrained Liver qi and relieve abdominal pain and distension.

 

CAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS

* GI Care should not be used to treat patients with atrophic gastritis with decreased or lack of secretion of stomach acid. GI Care contains herbs that neutralize and stop the secretion of stomach acid and may worsen the condition.

* Patients with cholecystitis and cholelithiasis are often misdiagnosed as having gastrointestinal problems. Correct diagnosis is critical in the overall success of the treatment.

* Allergy warning: Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata) used in this product contains wheat. Persons with allergy to wheat should not take this product.

 

CLINICAL NOTES

* When treating gastric or duodenal ulcers, it is imperative to rule out atrophic gastritis. Ulcers and atrophic gastritis share many similar signs and symptoms. The underlying etiologies, however, are completely different. Ulcers are caused by an excessive secretion of gastric acid and must be treated by neutralizing or reducing the acid secretion. Conversely, atrophic gastritis is caused by decreased (or lack of secretion) of gastric acid and must be treated by increasing the production of gastric acid. If untreated, atrophic gastric may lead to gastric carcinoma.

* Patients with ulcers induced by the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often asymptomatic. These drugs cause peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding, but they mask these symptoms because they also have pain-relieving effects. Therefore, those who use these drugs on regular basis should be checked to rule out gastric or duodenal ulcers.

 

Pulse Diagnosis by Dr. Jimmy Wei-Yen Chang:

* Acid reflux or heartburn: half bump between the left cun and guan positions.

* Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) due to damp-heat in the Stomach: deep, concave, and forceful pulse on the right guan.

* Peptic ulcer due to damp-heat in the Stomach with wood element overacting on earth element: deep, wiry, and forceful pulse on the right guan.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY FORMULAS

* For stress related Stomach problems, irritability, nervousness, and/or anxiety, add Calm or Calm (ES).

* With restlessness, stress, and insomnia with underlying deficiency, add Calm ZZZ.

* For bleeding, add Notoginseng 9.

* With severe pain, add Herbal ANG.

* For gallbladder disorders such as cholecystitis or gallstones, combine with Dissolve (GS).

* For hepatic disorders such as hepatitis or liver cirrhosis, combine with Liver DTX.

* For irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), use GI Harmony instead.

* For ulcerative colitis, use GI Care (UC) instead.

* To tonify the constitution of the body and nourish blood, combine with Schisandra ZZZ or Imperial Tonic.

* For constipation, combine with Gentle Lax (Excess) or Gentle Lax (Deficient).

* For hemorrhoids, add GI Care (HMR).

* For nausea, vomiting and poor appetite due to chemotherapy, use C/R Support instead.

* For excess appetite, obesity, combine with Herbalite.

* For excess fire, add Gardenia Complex.

* With excessive damp/phlegm, add Pinellia Complex.

* With bacterial infection in the digestive tract, add Herbal ABX.

* With viral infection in the digestive tract, add Herbal AVR.

 

ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT

Traditional Points:

* Xiangu (ST 43), Liangqiu (ST 34), Zhongwan (CV 12), Weishu (BL 21), Pishu (BL 20), Hegu (LI 4), Zusanli (ST 36), Shenque (CV 8), Neiguan (PC 6), Gongsun (SP 4), Qihai (CV 6), Quze (PC 3), Yanglingquan (GB 34), Zhaohai (KI 6), Dadu (SP 2), Shangwan (CV 13), Youmen (KI 21), Neiting (ST 44), Geshu (BL 17), Liangmen (ST 21), Sanyinjiao (SP 6)  

 

Classic Master Tung's Points:

* Acid reflux: Tushui (T 22.11), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Tongguan (T 88.01), Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18)

* Duodenal ulcer: Linggu (T 22.05), Dabai (T 22.04), Tushui (T 22.11), Tongwei (T 88.10), Tongshen (T 88.09), Sihuashang (T 77.08), Shuitong (T 1010.19), Shuijin (T 1010.20), Xinmen (T 33.12), Changmen (T 33.10), Ganmen (T 33.11). Bleed dark veins nearby the ST channel on the lower limb. Bleed before needling for best result.

* Gastritis: Linggu (T 22.05), Tushui (T 22.11), Changmen (T 33.10), Menjin (T 66.05), Sihuashang (T 77.08), Sihuazhong (T 77.09), Sihuaxia (T 77.11). Bleed Sihuashang (T 77.08) or nearby dark veins. Bleed before needling for best result.

* Nausea: Tushui (T 22.11), Xinling (T 33.17)*, Sihuashang (T 77.08), Menjin (T 66.05), Linggu (T 22.05), Xinmen (T 33.12), Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18)

* Vomiting: Tushui (T 22.11), Xinling (T 33.17)*, Sihuashang (T 77.08), Menjin (T 66.05), Linggu (T 22.05), Xinmen (T 33.12). Bleed near Yamen (GV 15). Bleed before needling for best result.  

* Bloating: Pizhong (T 11.18), Sihuashang (T 77.08), Sihuazhong (T 77.09), Sihuaxia (T 77.11), Fuchang (T 77.12), Menjin (T 66.05), Huoju (T 66.11), Changmen (T 33.10), Minghuang (T 88.12), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Qihuang (T 88.14), Beimian (T 44.07), Fukuai (T 1010.15), Shangjiuli (T 88.26), Zhongjiuli (T 88.25), Xiajiuli (T 88.27), Sifuyi (T 1010.11), Sifuer (T 1010.10)

 

Master Tung’s Points by Dr. Chuan-Min Wang:

* Gastritis: Bleed Sihuashang (T 77.08), Sihuazhong (T 77.09), Sihuafu (T 77.10), Sihuaxia (T 77.11), Sihuali (T 77.13), Sihuawai (T 77.14). Needle Tushui (T 22.11) or Cesanli (T 77.22) towards the ST channel.

* Acid reflux: Tianhuang (T 77.17), Tianhuangfu [shenguan] (T 77.18), Tongshan (T 88.02), Tongtian (T 88.03)

* Duodenal ulcer: Menjin (T 66.05), Fuchang (T 77.12)

 

Balance Method by Dr. Richard Tan:

* Left side: Neiguan (PC 6), Lieque (LU 7), Zusanli (ST 36), Yanglingquan (GB 34)

* Right side: Zhigou (TH 6), Hegu (LI 4), Yinlingquan (SP 9), Ququan (LR 8)

* Left and right sides can be alternated from treatment to treatment.

Ear Acupuncture:

* Stomach, Adrenal Gland, Prostate Gland, Duodenum. Use ear seeds.

* Nausea, vomiting: Stomach, Liver, Spleen, Shenmen. Needle once a day for three to five days. For severe cases, needle two or three times daily. These points can also be used for morning sickness during pregnancy. However, ear seeds with mild massage are recommended.

 

Auricular Medicine by Dr. Li-Chun Huang:

* Gastritis: Stomach, Spleen, Digestive Subcortex

§ For acute gastritis, add Sympathetic and bleed Ear Apex.

§ For superficial gastritis, add Sympathetic.

§ For atrophic gastritis, add Pancreas, Endocrine, Mouth (Sympathetic point is contraindicated).

§ For disharmony between the Liver and Stomach, add Stomach, Abdominal Distension Area, and San Jiao.

* Gastric and duodenal ulcers: Stomach, Spleen, Duodenum, Sympathetic, Digestive Subcortex.

§ For disharmony between the Liver and Stomach, add Liver and San Jiao.

§ For Stomach yin deficiency, add Pancreas and Endocrine.

§ For gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer due to abdominal pain, add Groove of Stomach and Intestine, and Duodenum Ball of Posterior. Bleed Ear Apex.

* Reducing excessive gastric acid secretion: Cardia, Sympathetic, Stomach, Duodenum, Gallbladder, Digestive Subcortex.

* Invigorating the Spleen and promoting digestion: Spleen, Stomach, Mouth, Pancreas, Endocrine, Digestive Subcortex, Small Intestine

 

NUTRITION

* Drinking a large amount of water often helps when the first sign of heartburn appears.

* Plan regular meals and chew slowly and thoroughly.

* Increase intake of nourishing, cooling foods/roots such as Mexican yam, yam, radishes, potatoes, carrots, melons, cucumbers, beets, turnips, malanga, celeriac, taro, and rutabaga.

* Increase the intake of papayas and pineapples as they contain bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps with indigestion. Acidophilus is also helpful for digestion. Avoid lentils, peanuts and soybeans because they contain enzyme inhibitors.

* Avoid spicy/pungent/aromatic vegetables such as pepper, garlic, onions, basil, rosemary, cumin, funnel, anise, leeks, chives, scallions, thyme, saffron, wormwood, mustard, chili pepper, and wasabi.

* Avoid fried, spicy or greasy foods, refined sugar, tea, coffee, caffeine, salt, chocolate, strong spices, and carbonated drinks. Stay away from sour and acidic food and fruits.

* Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages whenever possible. Alcohol and caffeine increase stomach acid and interfere with ulcer treatment.

* Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages whenever possible. Alcohol and caffeine increase stomach acid and interfere with ulcer treatment.

 

The Tao of Nutrition by Dr. Maoshing Ni and Cathy McNease:

* Peptic ulcers

§ Recommendations: potatoes, honey, cabbage, ginger, figs, papayas, squid bone, peanut oil, kale, and persimmons. Drink fig juice.

§ Drink potato juice daily on an empty stomach for at least two weeks.

§ Drink warm kale juice or cabbage juice on an empty stomach to help heal the ulcer.

§ Take two teaspoons of peanut oil every morning on an empty stomach to help close the wound.

§ Take two tablespoons of steamed honey on an empty stomach in the mornings.

§ Cook ginger (an amount the size of the thumb) with rice and have for breakfast every morning on an empty stomach.

§ Dry and charcoal persimmon and grind into powder; take one tablespoon in a glass of warm water.

§ Avoid spicy foods, hot foods, stimulants, shellfish, coffee, smoking, alcohol, fried foods, and stress.

 

LIFESTYLE INSTRUCTIONS

* Avoid consumption of alcohol completely. Stop smoking cigarettes and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke whenever possible.

* Avoid stress as it may trigger stomach discomfort. Do not eat when angry, overly tired or stressed, and always chew food thoroughly.

* Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, Motrin (ibuprofen) or Naprosyn (naproxen), should not be ingested as they are very damaging to the stomach.

* Use of antacids may suppress the symptoms of ulcer, but do not treat the cause. Do not rely on or use antacids excessively.

* Infection in the oral region, emotional disturbance, and diet may trigger gastritis and should be controlled.

* Keep the digestive tract warm at all times. Whenever possible, place a hot compress or a hot water bottle on the stomach.

 

CASE STUDIES

* A 50-year-old female presented with persistent proctitis, which she had had for two years. Her right and left pulse were superficial and wiry, and her left cun position was convex and forceful at both the middle and superficial positions. She was prescribed GI Care and Astringent Complex, 50:50. After three 100 gram bottles of the mixed formula, her symptoms disappeared. It has been four months since she finished the herbs and her symptoms never returned, and her medical tests came back negative as well. Submitted by S.B., Berkeley, California.  

* W.M, a 54-year-old female, presented with stomach aches and pains along with some IBS-type symptoms. The pain usually occurred shortly after eating, as either a dull or sharp sensation, more often with cold, sweet type foods. The patient’s blood pressure was within normal range and heart beat was at 60 beats per minute. Patient had high stress and was given a TCM diagnosis of Stomach qi deficiency and cold, as well as Kidney yang deficiency, possibly leading to a developing ulcer. She was treated with GI Care at 4 capsules three times daily along with other dietary recommendations. After about a month, the patient only experienced occasional discomfort, usually from over-indulging. The patient continued on a smaller dose for another month. Submitted by M.E., Little Rock, Arizona.

* A 54-year-old female clerk presented with belching, esophageal reflux and acid regurgitation. Sleep was disturbed due to relentless nighttime cough with thick and sticky phlegm. At times, the patient would also experience vomiting. Her medical doctor prescribed Prilosec (omeprazole), but the patient preferred not to take pharmaceuticals if possible. The patient was given GI Care, 4 capsules daily. Within two weeks, the patient was able to refrain from Prilosec (omeprazole) and continued with just GI Care. Subsequently, the patient experienced no discomfort, slept well and has had no acid reflux. She was no longer expelling phlegm or mucus. Four months later, she was still taking GI Care and doing fine. The practitioner’s intention was to slowly reduce her dosage and monitor her symptoms. Submitted by J.Y., Vancouver, Washington.

* T.T., a 48-year-old female, presented with symptoms consisting of bloating, burping, and other discomfort in the upper and lower quadrant area. Pulse was wiry and tongue was swollen with a dusky look. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as Liver qi stagnation with underlying Spleen and Kidney yang deficiencies; her Western diagnosis was GERD. For treatment, GI Care was prescribed. Being opposed to Western prescription drugs, the patient had been trying different remedies, but was interested in finding a natural remedy. She had tried OTC antacid, which had only helped a little bit. After taking GI Care, the patient had noticed that it was more effective than the other medication she had been taking. Submitted by L.H., Chicago, Illinois.

* A.F., a 35-year-old female, presented with multiple symptoms consisting of poor appetite, fatigue, and weight loss. It was also noted that she had been experiencing diarrhea and rectal bleeding. Blood pressure was 108/59 mmHg and heart rate 60 beats per minute. Pulse was thin and thready; tongue had a geographic look, red color and no coating. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as Liver and Kidney yin deficiencies along with damp-heat in the lower jiao. Her Western diagnosis was Crohn’s disease. For treatment, GI Care was prescribed. After one week of taking the herbs the diarrhea had improved; it became normal after five weeks. The patient also mentioned her fatigue had improved but she still got tired when stressed. Submitted by M.P., Muskego, Wisconsin.

* R.S., a 62-year-old female, presented with chronic heartburn, which had been occurring most of her adult life since she had been diagnosed with hepatitis C years ago. The TCM diagnosis was Liver qi stagnation with Stomach fire; Western diagnosis was acid reflux. GI Care was prescribed at three capsules three times per day. With a change of her diet and taking this formula, the patient noticed her heartburn was kept away 80% of the time. Submitted by J.L., San Diego, California.

* J.R., a 17-year-old female, presents with various gastrointestinal complaints including nausea, epigastric fullness with sensations of “pulling or tightness,” abdominal pain that is “annoying and dull,” intermittent abdominal pain, and alternating diarrhea and constipation. The TCM diagnosis was Liver qi stagnation with Stomach fire rising. The practitioner prescribed GI Care. After one month of care, including three acupuncture treatments and steady herbal therapy, the patient reported improvement in the abdominal pain, to the point that it is now minimal, with increased periods of relief between exacerbations. Furthermore, the nausea resolved and bowel movements became normal. [Note: The practitioner commented that the patient improved although she was not totally compliant, and forgot to take the herbs once in a while.] Submitted by C.L., Chino Hills, California.

* A 45-year-old female presented with stomach sensitivity that worsened with stress. The Western diagnosis was acid reflux; the TCM diagnosis was Liver qi stagnation with heat. After beginning to take GI Care, the patient reported it to be a gentle formula that helped her be free of stomach pain for two years. Due to financial reasons, the patient stopped coming in for acupuncture but remained on GI Care consistently. Submitted by M.C., Sarasota, Florida.

 

PHARMACOLOGICAL AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

GI Care is designed to treat gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, gastritis, acid reflux, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, belching, bloating, epigastric fullness, and food sensitivities. To address various causes and complications of these gastrointestinal disorders, GI Care incorporates herbs with multiple functions, including antiulcer, antacid, antibiotic, and gastroprotective activities.

        While gastric acid is essential for digestion, an excessive amount will cause damages to various parts of the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Therefore, it is essential to use herbs to manage the production and release of gastric acid. Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) inhibits the secretion of gastric acid and is commonly used to treat peptic ulcers.[1] The mechanisms of actions include inhibiting the secretion of gastric acid, blunting the increase of malonyldialdehyde (MDA) and hydroxyl ion (OH), and decreasing nitric oxide level and superoxide dismutase activity from gastric mucus.[2] Clinically, Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) has a marked protective effect against gastric lesions and ulcerative formation induced by stress and alcohol consumption.[3] Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae) and Hai Piao Xiao (Endoconcha Sepiae) also have significant antiulcer effects. Administration of Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae) is associated with marked effectiveness in preventing and treating stomach ulcers by reducing gastric acid secretion.[4] Hai Piao Xiao (Endoconcha Sepiae) has a high content of calcium carbonate, and is an effective antacid to neutralize gastric acid.[5] Lastly, because an excessive amount of gastric acid will often damage the mucosa and cause pain, Yan Hu Suo (Rhizoma Corydalis) is added for its strong analgesic effect to relieve pain.[6]

        Since H. pylori infection is a common cause of many gastrointestinal disorders, GI Care is formulated with many herbs with antibiotic effects, such as Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis), Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae) and Bai Hua She She Cao (Herba Hedyotis).[7],[8],[9] Pharmacologically, Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) has a marked effect to protect and treat gastric lesion induced by H. pylori lipopolysaccharide. Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) has been shown to inhibit epithelial cell apoptosis and suppress gastric mucosal inflammation.[10] Clinically, H. pylori infection was treated with a 75.9% rate of effectiveness using an herbal formula that contained Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae), Bai Hua She She Cao (Herba Hedyotis), and others.[11]

        To strengthen the digestive tract and restore its functions, Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata) and Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae) are used in this formula. Shen Qu (Massa Fermentata) contains many different enzymes to facilitate digestion of starches and carbohydrates.[12] Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae) has a significant gastroprotective effect. It protects the stomach against gastric lesions by strengthening the gastric mucosal lining and promoting the nitric oxide synthesis in local gastric mucosa.[13] In addition, use of Wu Zhu Yu (Fructus Evodiae) and Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) has been shown to have marked protective effect against aspirin-induced damages to the stomach mucus membrane.[14]

        Lastly, severe cases of gastric or duodenal ulcers are sometimes complicated with hemorrhage. Therefore, a small amount of Di Yu (Radix Sanguisorbae) and Wu Bei Zi (Galla Chinensis) are added to this formula for their hemostatic effect to stop bleeding.[15] According to one study, Di Yu (Radix Sanguisorbae) and Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis) have been used in one herbal formula to effectively treat 117 patients with acute bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract.[16] According to another study, use of Wu Bei Zi (Galla Chinensis) for one week successfully stopped bleeding in 29 out of 33 (91%) patients.[17]

        In summary, herbs in GI Care have demonstrated significant pharmacological effects to treat various gastrointestinal disorders, including but not limited to peptic ulcer disease,[18],[19] gastritis,[20],[21] H. pylori infection,[22] gastrointestinal bleeding,[23] and others.[24]

 

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

Gastrointestinal conditions, such as gastric or duodenal ulcers, stress ulcers, gastritis and heartburn, are extremely common complaints in developed countries. As a result, many new drugs have been developed in recent years to treat these conditions. Antacids (such as Maalox and Mylanta) neutralize stomach acid and have a quick onset of action but only a short duration. Histamine-2 antagonists [such as Zantac (ranitidine) and Tagamet (cimetidine)] have a potent effect and medium duration of action and are well tolerated in most cases. However, they inhibit liver metabolism, and may cause drug-drug and drug-herb interactions and must be monitored carefully. Proton-pump inhibitors [such as Prilosec (omeprazole) and Protonix (pantoprazole)] have potent and irreversible effects to inhibit production of stomach acid. Unfortunately, prolonged use may cause atrophic gastritis, and in laboratory studies, stomach cancer in animal subjects. In brief, though these drugs are effective to reduce stomach acid and treat several gastrointestinal conditions, they must be prescribed and monitored carefully.

        These gastrointestinal disorders may be treated effectively with herbs. According to numerous clinical studies, herbs neutralize stomach acid, decrease production and secretion of stomach acid, relieve pain, kill H. pylori, and in severe cases of bleeding ulcers, stop bleeding. Furthermore, herbs are also effective to treat drug- and stress-induced gastrointestinal disorders, two of the main causes. In short, by targeting both symptoms and causes, herbs achieve short- and long-term success to treat many gastrointestinal disorders. However, herbs do have their limitations. In cases of severe peptic ulcers, herbs are not as potent as, and do not last as long as, proton-pump inhibitors. Furthermore, acute cases of profuse gastrointestinal bleeding are medical emergencies, and require immediate medical intervention. Use of herbs is not recommended in these two scenarios.

 



[1] Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1988, 140:144.

[2] Li B, Liu HR, Pan YQ, Jiang QS, Shang JC, Wan XH, He BC, Yang JQ, Zhou QX. Protective effects of total alkaloids from rhizoma Coptis chinensis on alcohol-induced gastric lesion in rats. Chongqing University of Medical Sciences, China. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2006 Jan;31(1):51-4.

[3] Li B, Shang JC, Zhou QX. Study of total alkaloids from Rhizoma Coptis Chinensis on experimental gastric ulcers. Department of Pharmacology, Chongqing University of Medical Sciences, Chongqing 400016, China. Chin J Integr Med. 2005 Sep;11(3):217-21.

[4] Zhong Yao Yao Li Du Li Yu Lin Chuang (Pharmacology, Toxicology and Clinical Applications of Chinese Herbs), 1988; 4(3):9.

[5] Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1998; 903:904.

[6] Huang JY, Fang M, Li YJ, Ma YQ, Cai XH. Analgesic effect of Corydalis yanhusuo in a rat model of trigeminal neuropathic pain. Department of Stomatology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510282, China. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2010 Sep;30(9):2161-4.

[7] Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1998; 204:205.

[8] Zhang S, Zhang B, Xing K, Zhang X, Tian X, Dai W. Inhibitory effects of golden thread (Coptis chinensis) and berberine on Microcystis aeruginosa. Fisheries College, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, P. R. China. Water Sci Technol. 2010;61(3):763-9.

[9] Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1988; 137:140.

[10] Lu JS, Liu YQ, Li M, Li BS, Xu Y. Protective effects and its mechanisms of total alkaloids from rhizoma Coptis chinensis on Helicobacter pylori LPS induced gastric lesion in rats. Dongzhimen Hospital Affiliated to Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100700, China. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2007 Jul;32(13):1333-6.

[11] Jiang Su Zhong Yi Za Zhi (Jiangsu Journal of Chinese Medicine), 1997; 18(4):14.

[12] Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1998; 436:437.

[13] Yu X, Wu DZ. Protective effects of Evodia rutaecarpa water extract on ethanol-induced rat gastric lesions. Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2006 Nov;31(21):1801-3.

[14] Zhong Yao Yao Li Yu Lin Chuang (Pharmacology and Clinical Applications of Chinese Herbs) 1993;9(4):9.

[15] Zhong Yao Yao Li Yu Ying Yong (Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Herbs), 1983; 406.

[16] Zhong Yao Lin Chuan Xin Yong (New Clinical Applications of Chinese Medicine), 2001; 246.

[17] Zhe Jiang Zhong Yi Xue Yuan Xue Bao (Journal of Zhejiang University of Chinese Medicine), 1987; 6:20.

[18] Si Chuan Zhong Yi (Sichuan Chinese Medicine), 1987; (1):29.

[19] Hu Nan Yi Yao Za Zhi (Hunan Journal of Medicine and Herbology), 1977; 2:35.

[20] Shan Xi Zhong Yi (Shanxi Chinese Medicine) 1997;4:14.

[21] Hu Nan Zhong Yi Za Zhi (Hunan Journal of Chinese Medicine), 1992; (2):33.

[22] Jiang Su Zhong Yi Za Zhi (Jiangsu Journal of Chinese Medicine), 1997; 18(4):14.

[23] Hei Long Jiang Zhong Yi Yao (Heilongjiang Chinese Medicine and Herbology), 1993; (1):34.

[24] Zhong Cao Yao Fang Ji De Ying Yong (Applications of Chinese Herbal Formulas), 1976; 101.