2011 Volume 28 Issue 3 Pages 93-105
Kampo medications have been successfully used for patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) who have demonstrated difficulty in adjusting to conventional Western pharmacological therapy. These patients have developed serious adverse drug reactions and have shown little improvement or an actual decrease in Quality of Life (QOL) in spite of the pharmacological intervention. Kampo medications, on the other hand, can increase QOL in such patients. However, few reports are available that detail the effectiveness and/or mechanism(s) of action of Kampo medications for the treatment of UC.
In this article, the characteristics of chemically-induced murine colitis are reviewed. Chemically-induced murine colitis is the most commonly employed experimental animal model of colitis and shares important characteristics with UC. Recent research regarding the administration and anti-inflammatory actions of Kampo medications for the management of experimental murine colitis, while limited, is also reviewed. In addition, the importance of herb combinations (as opposed to any single herb) that comprise Kampo formulations are described in the context of research from this laboratory. This work demonstrates that the herbs in Kampo medications may act synergistically to protect against dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced murine colitis. Finally, the applicability of this work to the treatment of UC in human patients is discussed.