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Inflammatory Bowel

Medical Advice

Husky (Dog) Giving Owner a High-Five

IHVC & Dr. Chang Present Integrative Know How

Chinese herbal medicine can help with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders. In people it can be further classified into ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The chronic inflammation of the GI tract can contributes to the development of colonal and rectal tumor.

In dogs and cats, IBD is also a common disease that can affect both large and small intestines. The exact cause of IBD is still unknown. The common clinical signs can include inappetance, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, fever, bloody stool, etc.

The current treatments of IBD include dietary management, antibiotics, probiotics and immunosuppression drugs. However, it is not uncommon to see significant side effects from long term use of immunosuppressive drugs. For instance, long term steroid use can lead to obesity, immunosuppression (easily have infections), hair loss, etc.

How does Chinese herbal medicine help?

Chinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years to treat various conditions. Most of them are plants, but also including animal parts, minerals, etc. There are several formulas (eg. Xilei San, Kui Jie Qing, etc.) or extract from single herbs (eg. Andrographis paniculata, Tripterygium wilfordii, etc.) which have been used on animal models (mice) and human IBD.

Even though there are not enough studies to form a solid conclusion, the preliminary results are promising in treating IBD with Chinese herbal medicine. More importantly, the side effects of Chinese herbal medicine are less compared to current immunosuppressive drugs. It can be used along or in conjunction with conventional medicine.