Nearly two millennia ago, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners developed a formula for people who were experiencing problems with urination. Known as Danggui Beimu Kushen Wan, this formula has become widely used as a Chinese herbal remedy for prostatitis (chronic prostatitis), although there has been scant scientific evidence to support its use. That has changed, based on the findings of a new study appearing in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
What is danggui beimu kushen wan?
The features of this Chinese herbal remedy for prostatitis are as follows:
- Danggui: Angelica sinensis, also known as ginseng. This is a classic remedy for improving blood circulation and relieving pain
- Zhe beimu: Fritillariae thunbergii bulbus, an Asian plant that is a member of the lily family. It is a traditional Chinese medicine often used for detoxification and to relieve cough and phlegm. Studies have shown that it can be helpful in treating prostatitis and hyperthyroidism.
- Kushen: Sophorae Flavescentis radix, which is used to promote urination
- Wan: indicates it is in pill form
Results of study on herbal remedy for prostatitis
A total of 14 studies were included in the evaluation: four randomized controlled trials, two case series, and eight experimental studies. The reviewers of the studies reported that use of the herbal remedy achieved more benefits in relieving symptoms of chronic prostatitis after four weeks when compared with antibiotics. They also found that the remedy, when compared with an alpha blocker (which are often used to treat prostatitis) reduced the NIH-CPSI score within six weeks.
One limitation of the review is that none of the studies involved use of a placebo against which the herbal remedy was compared.
Overall, use of Danggui Beimu Kushen Wan was found to be safe and was associated with only mild side effects, such as slight fatigue, postural hypotension, and dizziness. The experimental studies showed that the remedy may possess antibacterial, antioxidation, and anti-inflammatory properties, along with an ability to help regulate sex hormone levels and the immune system. The authors concluded that this herbal remedy for prostatitis had great potential and that future research was needed, including high-quality randomized controlled trials and those comparing the remedy with pharmaceuticals.
Li H et al. A classic herbal formula Danggui Beimu Kushen Wan for chronic prostatitis: from traditional knowledge to scientific exploration. Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 2018 Nov 13; 1612948
Lianguo C et al. Effect of radix Sophorae Flavescentis on activity of CYP450 isoforms in rats. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine 2015; 8(11): 21365-71
Xia JX et al. The effect of Zhejiang Fritillariae thunbergii against immunological CP/CPPS. Zhonghua Zhong Yi Yao Xue Kan 2011 Jan 1; 29:1034-25
Yi-Kung L et al. Quality assessment of Fritillariae thunbergii bulbus sold in Taiwan markets using a validated HPLC-UV method combined with hierarchical clustering analysis. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis 2015 Mar; 23(1): 130-35