Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture & Herbs Proven Effective For Gastritis Relief


Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of atrophic gastritis. Researchers at the Kaifeng City Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine conducted a clinical trial to observe the effects of adding a Stomach-Engendering Powder formula to a protocol of warm needle acupuncture. The results of the trial show that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of atrophic gastritis (AG); however, the combination of herbs and acupuncture is more effective than acupuncture monotherapy.

The study included 30 patients with atrophic gastritis, a chronic inflammatory condition of the stomach. The patients were randomly divided into two groups of 15 people. The observation group received the Stomach-Engendering Powder formula and warm needle acupuncture, while the control group received only warm needle acupuncture. The combined treatment received by the observation group notably reduced the visual analog scale (VAS) scores for stomach pain, significantly decreased levels of pepsinogen and sIL-2R (soluble interleukin-2 receptor), markedly increased gastrin levels, and substantially improved immune function parameters and quality of life scores. [1]

The observation group received an augmented treatment based on the control group regimen. Patients were positioned prone, and sterile 1.5-inch needles were inserted at the gastric back-shu point (BL21, Wei Shu) and the spleen back-shu point (BL20, Pi Shu). Following the sensation of deqi arrival, a tonifying method was applied. Afterward, a 2 cm moxa stick was attached to the needle handle and ignited. The needle was removed once the moxa stick had entirely burned.

Next, patients assumed a supine position, and acupuncture was performed using 1.5 in. needles at acupoints LV13 (Zhangmen), PC6 (Neiguan), CV12 (Zhongwan), and ST36 (Zusanli). The tonifying method and moxibustion were similarly applied as in the previous positioning. Warm needle acupuncture treatments were conducted every other day over three months.

The Stomach-Engendering powder formula was decocted in water and administered orally. The patients prepared the decoction twice daily for a total treatment period of three months. Prof. Richard Liao, L.Ac. (HealthCMi author and presenter) notes that taking the decoction in two doses instead of one helps to maintain the herbs in the bloodstream throughout the day. The formula consisted of the following ingredients: 

  • Huang Qi, 15g
  • Bai Hua She She Cao, 15g
  • Dang Shen, 15g
  • Ban Zhi Lian, 15g
  • Pu Gong Ying, 15g
  • San Leng, 10g
  • E Zhu, 10g
  • Zhi Gan Cao, 5g
  • San Qi, 5g 

The effective rate in the observation group was 93.33%, with a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) positivity rate of 6.67%. In the control group, the effective rate was 60.00%, with an H. pylori positivity rate of 40.00%. The observation group had a higher effective rate and a lower H. pylori positivity rate than the control group, with statistically significant differences. 

After treatment, the observation group showed lower levels of pepsinogen, soluble interleukin-2 receptor (siL-2R), and CD8+ compared with the control group. Conversely, levels of gastrin, CD4+, and the ratio of CD4+/CD8+ were higher in the observation group compared with the control group. A higher quality of life score was also noted in the observation group. These differences were also statistically significant. No significant adverse reactions were observed during the treatment in either group.

Chronic atrophic gastritis is a commonly encountered clinical condition that can affect the gastric body, antrum (part of the stomach in the pylorus), and even the hematological system. It is a crucial risk factor for the progression of gastric cancer. Stomach-Engendering powder (Sheng Wei San) is frequently used in the treatment of chronic atrophic gastritis, as it is known to invigorate blood circulation, promote the flow of qi to alleviate pain and eliminate pathogenic factors to rejuvenate the body by enhancing the upward movement of the spleen and stomach qi. Warm needle acupuncture specifically stimulates gastrointestinal motility and improves gastric emptying, thereby regulating the level of gastric proteases.

For our readership, it is advisable that if seeking treatment for this condition, seek a licensed acupuncturist-herbalist for the custom formula intended for your specific differential diagnosis. Chronic atrophic gastritis is inflammation plus thinning of the stomach lining. Causes include chronic H. pylori infection and autoimmune responses. An advantage of acupuncture and herbal medicine is that long-term care is possible without adverse effects. This allows for eliminating antibiotic-resistant H. pylori infections or regulation of autoimmune disorders.

[1] Zhang Yuetao, Liu Jingsheng. Clinical study of Shengwei Powder combined with warm acupuncture in the treatment of chronic atrophic gastritis[J]. Henan Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2022, 42(12):1917-1920.


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