Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine

PEP Topic 
Mucositis
Description 

An herb is a plant or part of a plant that people take for health benefits, such as dietary supplements or medication. Herbal medicine also may be referred to as phytotherapy or use of botanicals. Herbal medicine interventions include a variety of subtances and combinations of substances.

Effectiveness Not Established

Systematic Review/Meta-Analysis

Meyer-Hamme, G., Beckmann, K., Radtke, J., Efferth, T., Greten, H.J., Rostock, M., & Schroder, S. (2013). A survey of Chinese medicinal herbal treatment for chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: ECAM, 2013, 284959.

doi: 10.1155/2013/284959
Print

Purpose:

  • STUDY PURPOSE: To examine the evidence of Chinese herbal treatment in oral mucositis
  • TYPE OF STUDY: Systematic review

Search Strategy:

  • DATABASES USED: PubMed, MEDLINE via OVID, Embase via OVID, Cochrane Database, and CNKI
  • KEYWORDS: Chemotherapy, chemotherapy-induced, oral ulcer, mouth ulcer, oral mucositis, stomatitis, Chinese herbal medicine, medicinal herbs, Chinese herbs, traditional Chinese medicine, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
  • INCLUSION CRITERIA: All induced oral mucositis treated by Chinese herbal medicine that offered an English or Chinese medicine were included.  
  • EXCLUSION CRITERIA: Articles investigating radiochemotherapy-induced oral mucositis were excluded.

Literature Evaluated:

  • TOTAL REFERENCES RETRIEVED: 686
  • EVALUATION METHOD AND COMMENTS ON LITERATURE USED: Only articles that included oral mucositis treated by Chinese herbal medicine were included. Therefore, 632 articles were excluded, leaving 54 articles of which only 18 met the inclusion criteria.

Sample Characteristics:

  • FINAL NUMBER STUDIES INCLUDED = 18
  • TOTAL PATIENTS INCLUDED IN REVIEW: 1, 476
  • KEY SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS: Patients with oral mucositis, based on the World Health Organization Oral Toxicity Scale, who were treated with either a single herb or a combination of herbs involving more than one component

Phase of Care and Clinical Applications:

  • PHASE OF CARE: Active treatment

Results:

All reviewed studies reported positive effects of Chinese herbal treatment for chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis.

Conclusions:

Additional well-designed RCT studies are needed, especially to look at the mechanism of action for each herbal remedy. Due to poor design in terms of treatment and control groups, it was almost impossible to evaluate which parts of the treatment concepts are responsible for the measured effects in the reviewed trials.

Limitations:

Some studies used more than one herbal treatment with different routes of administration; therefore, it was difficult to determine which agent may have been more effective in treating oral mucositis. In general, most trials had a poor design.

Nursing Implications:

No recommendations for use in clinical practice were made; recommendations were made for further studies. These studies could use placebo capsules or placebo liquids. It also was recommended that future studies decrease the complexity of the treatments in order to determine what treatments were effective.


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