(Natural News) Having a fatty liver can lead to severe conditions in the future, but a team of scientists from the Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine is turning to alternative medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to address it. In particular, they found colon hydrotherapy, when it is combined with TCM, to be a promising treatment strategy in managing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The results of their study were published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The term NAFLD collectively describes a wide range of diseases; from simple steatosis (the presence of too much fat in the liver) to even hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). In the U.S, the condition is widespread: It occurs in one in five adults, and around one in 10 children.
Obesity is one of the most common causes of NAFLD, with experts estimating two-thirds of obese adults to have the condition. Even worse, up to 50 percent of obese children may have NAFLD as well. Type 2 diabetes and other insulin-resisting conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome are also risk factors for developing NAFLD.
While the current methods available to treat NAFLD include pharmaceutical and lifestyle interventions, there have been studies that showed positive outcomes with TCM and NAFLD. In particular, a study led by the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine revealed that treating NAFLD with sinisan – a mixture containing Aurantii Immaturus Fructus (Zhi-Shi), Paeoniae Alba Radix (Bai-Shao), licorice root (Gan-Cao), and Bupleuri Radix (Chai-Hu) – is quite effective, as shown during in vivo tests.
In the study, the authors wrote that the target of TCM treatment for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is in the gut; therefore, the impact of using both TCM and colon hydrotherapy was investigated. (Related: Colon Cleansing: The Colon is Where Health Begins.)
Using 20 patients with NAFLD from the Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, the research team conducted an observational pilot study that spanned two weeks. During this time, patients received a combination of colon hydrotherapy and TCM treatments – a herbal decoction made up of Shanzha (Fructus Crataegus Pinnatifidae), Danshen (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae), Juemingzi (Semen Cassiae Obtusifoliae), Muli (Concha Ostreae), Fuling (Poria), and Yujin (Radix Curcumae) was irrigated to the colon and reserved for a period of time. Their body mass indices (BMI), levels of serum triglycerides (TG), and their total cholesterol levels were recorded before and after the treatment for comparison.
Based on the results, the colon hydrotherapy and TCM treatment greatly lowered patients’ BMI and reduced the level of lipids in the blood. From a BMI of 29.5 (with a tolerance of 4.3) before the trial, it decreased to 25.4 ± 1.0 after the therapies, and TG levels dropped from 0.70 millimoles per liter to 0.37 mmol/L. Regarding total cholesterol levels, 45 percent of patients decreased their levels by 10 percent from baseline, and 25 percent dropped more than 10 percent from the baseline. Sixty percent of patients reported a TG decrease of more than 20 percent, and 20 percent had lost more than 40 percent of their TG. The levels of high-density and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol did not significantly change after the treatment.
Of the findings, the authors wrote this to be the effect of the herbal recipe used in the procedure. Fatty liver, according to TCM theory, “corresponds to dampness, heat, phlegm, and stasis interacted in the liver with spleen deficiency as the basis.” The herbs used in the study targeted all these. Moreover, the retention enema procedure that was used with TCM helped stimulate the intestinal membrane – increasing the absorption of the capillaries and promoting the discharge of toxins in the body.
While the findings show that the treatments look to be promising in terms of NAFLD treatment, researchers suggest long-term, randomized, and controlled trials to further analyze its effectiveness.
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