A multidisciplinary approach to expanding your practice with herbal solutions
Doctors of chiropractic are living in a time of rapid health care change. Each year brings forth new developments, making ongoing education essential. Medicinal herbs and herbal remedies are specialties that, as an adjunct treatment to spinal manipulation in daily clinical practice, can increase the efficacy of treatment as well as economic livelihoods.
Medicinal herbs can address a variety of common health conditions chiropractors see clinically on a daily basis while remaining true to chiropractic philosophy. For many of these conditions, patients are likely taking prescription medications in addition to chiropractic care.
Doctors of chiropractic generally seek optimal health for patients without the use of medications — nearly all of which have side effects, and some of which can be deleterious to patients’ health. Using herbal remedies in conjunction with chiropractic can make chiropractors stronger, more complete primary caregivers.
With a bit of knowledge and practice, chiropractors can begin to confidently and safely put herbal formulas to use in daily clinical practice.
Chiropractors see many patients with gastrointestinal disorders and are sometimes the first to diagnose and treat many of the estimated 60-70 million Americans who have GI disorders with spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), dietary advice, acupuncture and other therapies.
Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) treatment primarily involves subluxations at T6-8, L1-5, and anywhere you can influence the vagus nerve. However, compensatory subluxations are also often found that have an influence causing gastrointestinal symptoms. These must also be corrected.
Patients diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, or stomach or duodenal ulcers may have symptoms such as diarrhea, belching and generalized gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort or pain. These patients are often taking prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as Nexium, Tagamet, Prilosec, Pepcid, Aciphex or Prevacid, to name a few.
These patients often improve and relapse in fits and starts. They can become frustrated with their treatment and are sometimes frustrating to deal with, too. Oftentimes they end up taking secondary medications to deal with the side effects of the primary medication. These drugs tend to be proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that block acid production in the stomach, and often convey side effects like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches, rash and dizziness. Additionally, high doses over long periods of time may increase the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures of the hip, wrist or spine.,
In addition, the inhibition of stomach acid can be dangerous, interfering with a natural, normal function of the body that aids digestion. In 2011, the FDA issued a strong warning that some PPIs may cut in half the effectiveness of Plavix, a drug that discourages the formation of artery-clogging blood clots. This is another good reason for an alternative method of treatment for a specific subset of your patients.
As confirmed in repeated research studies, it is not always safe for patients to take this class of drugs.
An alternative solution has been researched and proven effective. Medicinal herbal formula supplements from the Pinellia tuber, also known as Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang (Chinese) or Hange-shashin-to (Japanese), has the effect of supporting the stomach while eliminating focal distention and reducing spasmodic epigastric pain, bloating and diarrhea. It can also help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and reduce or eliminate belching. Pinellia tuber is commonly used for GERD, inflammation of the intestine, stomach or duodenal ulcers, and digestive disorders.
This medicinal herbal formula can be effectively and safely used without potential harmful side effects. It can be used in place of any of the previously mentioned PPI drugs and is a potent adjunct to SMT.
In addition to treating the symptoms of GERD and similar disorders, studies have shown additional benefits of herbal formula supplements from the Pinellia tuber in the reduction of stress levels and improvement in depression via modulatory effects on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis and autonomic nervous function. It has also been shown to regulate cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) blood plasma levels, thereby reducing the symptoms of stress.
Other studies have shown its effectiveness in treating IBS and chronic diarrhea.
Abnormalities of gastrointestinal motility are assumed to be caused by obstruction of the autonomic nervous system and variations in hormone levels. The gut regulatory peptides somatostatin, motilin, gastrin and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), among others, regulate gastrointestinal motility. Pinellia tuber has been shown to regulate these mechanisms as well.
Put this herbal formula to work in your clinic and help patients improve their health and reduce their potentially dangerous drug intake.
Mark Reps, DC, has been a chiropractor and licensed acupuncturist since 1980. He has served on the board of TCMZone.com, and serves as formulations director for a startup CBD company. He wrote a natural health care column for five years and has published nine books in the Zeb Hanks mystery series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.