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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:943075. doi: 10.1155/2013/943075. Epub 2013 Apr 15.

Significance of Kampo, Japanese traditional medicine, in the treatment of obesity: basic and clinical evidence.

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  • 1Department of General Medicine, Kanazawa Medical University, 1-1 Daigaku, Uchinada, Kahoku District Ishikawa 920-0293, Japan.


The cause of obesity includes genetic and environmental factors, including cytokines derived from adipocytes (adipo-cytokines). Although drug therapy is available for obesity, it is highly risky. Our main focus in this review is on the traditional form of Japanese medicine, Kampo, in the treated of obesity. Two Kampo formulas, that is, bofutsushosan () and boiogito (), are covered by the national health insurance in Japan for the treatment of obesity. Various issues related to their action mechanisms remain unsolved. Considering these, we described the results of basic experiments and presented clinical evidence and case reports on osteoarthritis as examples of clinical application of their two Kampo medicine. Traditional medicine is used not only for treatment but also for prevention. In clinical practice, it is of great importance to prove the efficacy of combinations of traditional medicine and Western medicine and the utility of traditional medicine in the attenuation of adverse effects of Western medicine.

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