Crohn's disease - Acupuncture can help

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Millwoods Acupuncture Center
102, 2603 Hewes Way
Edmonton AB,   Canada

Phone: (780) 466-8683



Crohn’s Disease



First, let's see how it is known for Crohn's disease by conventional medicine system.

Sign and symptoms

The most common symptoms for Crohn’s Disease (CD) are diarrhea and abdominal pain, which can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms include fatigue, poor appetite, weight loss, fever, nausea and vomiting, and floating stools (which is caused by poor digestion of fat).


There are many theories regarding the specific cause of CD, although none have been proven. It is most likely that a variety of factors work together to bring about the disease. These factors range from genetics, faulty immune system reactions, environmental influences, cigarette smoking, and perhaps diet.

Risk  factors

          Jewish heritage (three to six times more likely than the general population)

          European (particularly Scandinavian) ancestry

          Family history of IBD

          Cigarette smoking

          Living in an industrialized country (particularly an urban area)

          Diet high in sugar and hydrogenated fat and low in fruit and vegetables


The primary goal in treating CD is to control inflammation and replenish lost nutrients.

For people with mild to moderate CD, medications are usually used to reduce swelling and suppress the immune response. More severe cases of CD may require surgery.

Commonly used medications include: Sulfasalazine, Mesalamine, Olsalazine and bulsalazide, Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation reaction. Medications that suppress the immune system are Azathioprine, 6-Mercaptopurine, Cyclosporine, and Methotrexate. Under specific condition, antibiotics (such as Ciprofloxacin and Metrondidazole), antidiarrheal medications, and biological response modifiers (such as Infliximab) may also be applied.

Other remedies

Other remedies used in the treatment of CD include Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), Nutrition and Dietary Supplements (vitamin B9, D, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Zinc). The usefulness of N-acetyl glucosamine, or probiotics needs further confirmation. 

There are some North America herbs/herb products for the rehabilitation of CD. They are Cat's claw, Ginkgo, Goldenseal , Green tea, Salai guggal, Slippery elm, Turmeric, and Wild indigo.

Homeopathy therapist may use Mercurius, Podophyllum, or Veratrum album for the treatment of CD, according to a person's constitution. 

Studies suggest that hypnosis may improve immune function, increase relaxation, decrease stress, and ease feelings of anxiety. Many healthcare practitioners and people with CD have reported that symptoms of the disease improve with relaxation methods such as hypnosis, meditation, and biofeedback.

Following foods are suggested to be avoided in CD patients:

          Milk (and milk products)

          Spicy foods


          Sugars and artificial sweeteners

Although there is no complete cure for CD, many people with the disease lead active lives by controlling their symptoms with medication. Over time, however, CD is less responsive to treatment.



Healing of Crohn’s diseases –Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

In TCM, Crohn’s disease is classified with diarrhea.

According to TCM theory, diarrhea can be induced by retention of Cold-dampness,

Dampness-heat, Liver-Qi stagnation, of Spleen and Stomach deficiency or Kidney-Qi deficiency.

The commonly used therapies in TCM for Crohn’s disease include herbal therapy and acupuncture. In some clinics, Taijiquan  practice or Qigong exercise are also recommended.  


Herbal therapy

In most cases, Crohn’s disease is caused by retention of damp-heat in the intestine. Clinically, it manifests as foul-smelling yellowish stools, abdominal pain, increased frequency of bowel movement, burning sensation in the anus, feeling of heat, thirst, and scanty-dark urine. The tongue is covered with thick-sticky-yellow coating, while the pulse is slippery-rapid.

TCM approach to treating Crohn’s disease is in most cases to clear the heat and resolve dampness.

A raw herb formula, Gegen Qinlian Tang (soup) is prescribed. It contains Radix puerariae, Radix scutellariae baicalensis, Rhizonma coptidies, and Radix glycyrrhizae praeparata.

Commonly used herb products in TCM for Crohn’s disease are Shen Qu Cha (a herb tea), and Bao Ji Wan (a herb pill), Fuzi Lizhong tang (pill), Xiaojianzhong tang (granule), Huangqi Jianzhong tang (granule), Guizhi tang (granule).

They are a mixture of various herbs, allowing anti-inflammatory, anti-bacteria, immune function modulation, bleeding cessation and release of stomach pain.


(1). Xiao Jianzhong Tang (granule)


Ingredients: Baishao, Guizhi, Fresh ginger, licorice, Chinese date.


(2). Sini San (granule)

Ingredients: Caihu, Baishao, Zhiqiao, licorice.


(3). Huangqi Jiangzhong Tang (granule)

Ingredients: Baishao, Guizhi, zhi licorice, fresh ginger, Chinese date, Huangqi, Yitang.


(4). Fusi Lizhong Tang (pills)

Ingredients: Fuzi, Dangshen, Baizhu, ginger, licorice.


(5). Shenling Baizhu San (pills)

Ingredients: Gensheng, Fuling, Baizhu, Shangyao, Baibiandou, Lianzi, Yiyiren, Sharen, Jiegeng, licorice.

(6). Buzhong Yiqi Wan (pill)

Ingredients: Huangqi, Dangsheng, Licorice, Baizhu, Danggui, Shengma, Caihu, Chenpi, ginger, Chinese date.

(7). Chaihu Shugang wan (pill)

Ingredients: Fuling, Zhishi, Doucou, Baishao, licorice, Xiangfu, Chenpi, Jiegeng, Houpu, Shanzha, Fangfeng, Shengqu, Chaihu, Binglang, Huangqing, Bohe, Zisou, Sanleng, Dahuang, Qingpi, Danggui, jiang banxia.



Acupuncture is useful to release pain, stop diarrhea and bleeding in the intestine, and to modulate the immune reaction in the body.

Commonly used acupuncture points are Ren-12, BL-22, Sp-9, Sp-6, S-25, BL-25, LI-11 with reducing method.


(1). TCM is pretty good in the treatment of Crohn’s disease, for elimination of symptoms and for cure. Try TCM first, before you take recommendation to take steroid hormone products that you need for long time in your life without uncertain of clinic results[1].

(2). Herbal therapy is the most effective means for cure, though combination with acupuncture, moxibustion or other TCM means will speed up the healing process.

(3). The principle of the herbal therapy is pretty much as the treatment of asthma, chronic sinus disease, allergic reaction in our TCM style.[2]

(4). The herbs used can be either granule or pills. We recommend the use of granule first since it allows TCM doctor to modify the formula based on your individual body conditions. After the clinic conditions are under control, we recommend the intake of pills for maintenance for some times, say, one to two months.

(5). Common results you can expect from the herbal therapy are the elimination of symptoms, weight gains (you look stronger) and restore of energy (no chronic fatigue any more).

[1] You will be certain its side effects. Check website for the side effects of steroid hormones.

[2] There are still different TCM styles in TCM society.