Chinese Herbs for the Elderly, Part 2

A  good overview of different Chinese medicines beneficial for elderly ills is “Systematic review of traditional Chinese medicine for geriatrics,” Geriatrics & Gerontology International, 2017, 17: 679-688. Accessed April 25, 2018.

This lengthy article reports in depth on a review of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in connection with revised criteria of the Japan Geriatrics Society for medical treatment and safety of the elderly.

The authors used a literature search with multiple search terms for various synonyms for the elderly and specific therapeutics including “East Asian Traditional Medicine, Kampo Medicine,
Chinese Traditional Medicine, Chinese herbal drugs, herb–drug interaction, herbal medicine, medicinal plant, plant components, plant extracts, phytotherapy, phytomedicine, Kampo, Oriental medicine, Japanese traditional medicine, Korean medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion.”

Treatments identified in this review that may improve symptoms of the following diseases in older adults are: “dementia and mild cognitive impairment (cognitive function, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia), post-stroke symptoms (activities of daily living, depression, aspiration pneumonia and constipation), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hyperlipidemia, foot ulcer as a result of diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, post-abdominal surgery complications, chronic constipation, the prevention and treatment of influenza, angina pectoris, and hypertension.”

Tables report on the medicines, ingredients, effects, attention (concerns/adverse effects) and the Quality of Evidence rating. Additional medicines not available in Japan are listed in a separate table. A third table lists a screening tool for herbs that should be used with the elderly with cautions on dosages or specific associated effects from other drugs.

Another report talks about a drug useful in preventing nosocomial infections in the elderly. Given the prevalence of these infections in U.S. hospitals, this might be especially useful since the results found a significant decrease among susceptible individuals. See “Prevention of traditional Chinese medicine Gubiao Pixie prescription for nosocomial infection in elderly population,” Zhonghua Wei Zhong Bing Ji Jiu Yi Xue. 2017 May; 29(5):469-472. Accessed April 25, 2018. A lengthy abstract in English is available at the link.

This article in the Journal of Ethnopharmacololgy. 2012 Mar 27;140(2):345-67, “Emerging approaches of traditional Chinese medicine formulas for the treatment of hyperlipidemia,” may be useful. It reports on multiple TCM formulas. Listed in the abstract are Fructus Crataegi, Radix Polygoni Multiflori. Semen Cassiae, and Radix et Rhizoma Rhei, Rhizoma alismatis  and Herba Artemisiae Scopariae, Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae, Radix Puerariae, Rhizoma Chuanxiong, Flos Carthami), and Folium Nelumbinis, Fructus Lycii, Radix Ginseng, and Radix Astragali. Also noted at the very end is this comment: ”However, solid evidence of the efficacy of these treatments is required.”

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