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Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Sep;8(7):835-46. doi: 10.1586/17474124.2014.917954. Epub 2014 May 12.

Complementary and alternative medicine in inflammatory bowel diseases: what is the future in the field of herbal medicine?

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IBD Center, Gastroenterology, IRCCS Humanitas, Rozzano, Milan, Italy.


The use of complementary and alternative medicine is wide-spread not only in Eastern countries, but also in the Western world. Despite the increasing evidence on the harmful effects induced by several naturopathic/homeopathic products, patients seem to appreciate these remedies, in particular because they consider them to be absolutely safe. This same phenomenon is common among inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. As a result there is a significant request for scientific data to evaluate both the efficacy and safety of these remedies, and to support the use of such medications as adjuvant treatments to biological and synthetic drugs. We aimed to review the current evidence on efficacy and safety of some natural products that are believed to be effective in inflammatory bowel disease. Further perspectives for the clinical use of herbal products and strategies for improving knowledge about herbal products in IBD are also discussed.


Crohn’s disease; boswellic acid; complementary and alternative medicine; curcumin; herbal medicine; inflammatory bowel disease; pomegranate; ulcerative colitis

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