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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:284959. doi: 10.1155/2013/284959. Epub 2013 Oct 28.

A survey of chinese medicinal herbal treatment for chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis.

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HanseMerkur Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistraße 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.


Oral mucositis is one of the common side effects of chemotherapy treatment with potentially severe implications. Despite several treatment approaches by conventional and complementary western medicine, the therapeutic outcome is often not satisfactory. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers empirical herbal formulas for the treatment of oral ulceration which are used in adaptation to chemotherapy-induced mucositis. While standard concepts for TCM treatment do not exist and acceptance by conventional oncologists is still low, we conducted a review to examine the evidence of Chinese herbal treatment in oral mucositis. Eighteen relevant studies on 4 single herbs, 2 combinations of 2 herbs, and 11 multiherbal prescriptions involving 3 or more compounds were included. Corresponding molecular mechanisms were investigated. The knowledge about detailed herbal mechanisms, especially in multi-herbal prescriptions is still limited. The quality of clinical trials needs further improvement. Meta-analysis on the existent database is not possible but molecular findings on Chinese medicinal herbs indicate that further research is still promising for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis.

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