Nutrition Research Newsletter

Evaluation of traditional Chinese herbal medicines: two studies

Evaluation of traditional Chinese herbal medicines: two studies

Traditional Chinese herbal medicines were subjected to modern scientific evaluation in two recent studies.

Animal study of “Pingandan”: In an experiment conducted at the Institute of Space Medico-Engineering in Beijing, a “secret prescription for treatment of stomach upset, nausea and vomiting for emperors in the Qing Dynasty of China” was tested in an experimental model of motion sickness in cats, to compare its effects with those of scopolamine and dramamine.

Pingandan proved to be comparable in effectiveness to scopolamine and superior to dramamine or placebo.

Pei Jing-shen et al, Experimental Research on Antimotion Sickness Effects of Chinese Medicine “Pingandan” Cats, Chinese Medical Journal 105(4):322-327 (Apr 1992) [Correspondence: Pei Jing-shen, Institute of Space MedicoEngineering, Beijing 10094, China]

Herbal Therapy for Atopic Dermatitis: The effectiveness of a traditional Chinese herbal remedy for skin disorders was evaluated in a double-blind clinical trial conducted at the Royal Free Hospital in London. Forty adults with longstanding, widespread, refractory atopic dermatitis received either the active treatment or a placebo consisting of inactive herbs daily for two months. The active treatment was more effective than placebo in relieving both objextive and subjective symptoms, although many of the subjects complained that the herbal drink was unpalatable. The authors conclude that it was of “substantial clinical benefit.” Similarly favorable results had been obtained in an earlier study in children with atopic dermatitis.

These authors caution, however, that herbal treatments are potentially toxic, and that Chinese traditional medicines have not undergone comprehensive, modern safety evaluations. Thus, there may be some risks involved in their use.

MP Sheehan et al, Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Therapy in Adult Atopic Dermatitis, The Lancet 340(8810):13-17 (4 July 1992) [Correspondence: Dr MHA Rustin, Department of Dermatology, Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG, UK]

COPYRIGHT 1992 Frost & Sullivan

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group