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Obesity, Weight Loss

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Obesity, Weight Loss

Introduction

Obesity refers to the body condition in which excessive calorie intake causes an accumulation of too much fat in the body, with a person’s actual weight exceeding the standard bodyweight by more than 20% and the fat percentage exceeding 30%. When the actual weight exceeds the standard bodyweight by less than 20% it is referred to as being overweight. The disease obesity refers to simple obesity, excluding conditions caused by endocrine and metabolic diseases. In traditional Chinese medicine, obesity falls into the categories of phlegm-dampness diseases and fatness.

Etiology/Pathogenesis

Traditional Chinese medicine considers the following factors to be among the causes of obesity: natural endowment, improper diet, eating too much fatty and sweet foods, lack of physical exercise, liver impairment wrecked by emotional upsets, and dysfunction in nutrient transportation due to spleen and stomach insufficiencies.

Primary Treatments with Chinese Medicinal Herbs

Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian

Ingredients: Da Huang (Rhubarb)

Clinical Application:
Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian is mainly used to treat obesity and its complications. Chen studied Jiang Zhi Jian Pei Pian’s effectiveness in treating obesity and the complications by the following multiple-group experiment: Group A, with 137 patients, took five tablets of Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian at 9pm daily; Group B, with 65 patients, was treated with a plaster made with vaccaria seeds (Semen Vaccariae) that was applied at 8pm daily to the otopoints related to the lung, stomach, large intestine, endocrine, thalamus, thirst and hunger points. In addition, 15 minutes before meal, the patients pressed the above otopoints until a sensation of either pain, warmth, or swelling was felt. Group C, with 135 patients, served as a blank control group. The results: at the end of the seven-day experiment, patients in Groups A, B, and C on average lost 4.37, 2.63 and 2.32 pounds, respectively, and the their waistline shrank by 3.89, 2.43, and 1.96 inches, respectively. (1)

Jiao et al. treated 216 cases of senile simple obesity with this formula. The patients took 4-6 tablets half an hour before meals, 2-3 times a day (47 patients also took phenfulamine). One course of treatment lasted three months. The results: the treatment was significantly effective in 72 cases, effective in 118 cases, and ineffective in 26 cases with a total effective rate of 88%. On average, the patients lost 10.38 pounds, and their waistline shrank 1.81 inches. (2)

Shen et al. treated 72 cases of child simple obesity with this formula. The patients took 3-5 tablets before a meal, 2-3 times a day (12 patients also took phenfulamine). The dosage was adjusted within the recommended range to maintain 2-3 defecations a day. Three months comprised one course of treatment. While under treatment, the patients were instructed to stick to a balanced diet and to exercise. The results: 15 cases significantly improved, 49 cases improved, 8 cases did not respond to the treatment, with a total effective rate of 88.9%. (3)

Gao et al. used this formula to treat 20 cases of obesity accompanied with menstrual irregularities. The patients took 5-10 tablets half an hour before a meal, 2-3 times a day. The results: After taking the formula for three months, the patients on average lost 12.87 pounds, and their menstruation returned to normal. (4)

Jiao et al. treated 115 cases of simple obesity with this formula. Among the patients treated, 24 had obesity-associated elevated blood viscosity. The patients took 5-10 tablets half an hour before a meal, 2-3 times a day. Three months constituted a course of treatment. In addition, once or twice a day, Da Huang (Rhubarb) extract was rubbed into the skin of the abdominal area. The results: the patients stayed in the hospital for an average of 46 days, lost an average of 30.91 pounds, and their waistline on average shrank 4.13 inches. Of the 24 patients with elevated blood viscosity, 21 significantly improve, 1 improved, and 2 did not respond to the treatment, with a total effective rate of 91.7%. (5)

In another study, Jiao et al. treated 42 cases of simple obesity accompanied with hyperlipemia with this formula. The patients took 8-10 tablets half an hour before a mean, three times a day. Three months constituted a course of treatment. The results: 35 cases significantly improved, 5 cases improved, and 2 cases did not respond to the treatment, with a total effective rate of 95.3%. On average, the patients had a weight loss of 24.28 pounds and a waistline reduction of 3.62 inches. A more detailed breakdown of the results looked like this: of the 20 patients with high cholesterol levels, 11 significantly improved, 5 improved, and 4 did not respond to the treatment, with a total effective rate of 80%; the corresponding numbers for the 25 patients hypertriglyceridemia were: 9, 10, 6, and 76%; and those for 28 patients with high lipid protein levels were: 15, 3, 10, and 64.3%. (6)

Other Treatments with Chinese Medicinal Herbs

Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian

Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian (Each tablet contains 1 gram of raw Da Huang (Rhubarb)) was used to treat 216 cases of senile simple obesity. It was orally taken half an hour after a meal, 4-6 tablets at a time, 2-3 times a day. Three months constituted one course of treatment. In addition to the formula, 47 of the patients also took phenfulamine. The results: As a result, the treatment was considered significantly effective in 72 cases, effective in 118 cases, and ineffective in 26 cases, with a total effective rate of 88%. On average, the patients lost 10.38 pounds in bodyweight, and their waistline shrank 1.81 inches. (7)

Xiao Pang Wan

Xiao Pang Wan was used to treat 286 cases of simple obesity. The formula consisted of Fu Ling (Hoelen), Cang Zhu (Atractylodes), Shan Zha (Crataegus), Yi Yi Ren (Coix), Ze Xie (Alisma), among others. The patients took the formula orally 5g a time, 3 times a day, and 30 days constituted one course of treatment. The results: after two courses of treatment, 125 patients significantly improved, 142 patients improved, and 19 patients did not respond to the treatment. On average, the patients lost 16.78 pounds in bodyweight. (8)

Jiang Zhi San

Jiang Zhi San was used to treat 150 cases of simple obesity. The formula consisted Fang Feng (Siler), Jing Jie (Schizonepeta), Lian Qiao (Forsythia), Ma Huang (Ma-Huang), Chuan Xiong (Cnidium), Dang Gui (Dang Gui), Bai Shao (White Peony Roots), Bao Zhu (White Atractylodes), Zhi Zi (Gardenia), Da Huang (Rhubarb), Mang Xiao (Mirabilitum), Shi Gao (Gypsum), Huang Qin (Scutellaria), Jie Geng (Platycodon Root), Gan Cao (Licorice), Hua Shi (Talc), and Bai Fan (Alum). The formula was made into an herbal tea with boiling water and taken daily (20g/day). Twenty days constituted one course of treatment. While under treatment, the patients ate ordinary home meals and were not restricted in food intake. The results: after one course of treatment, 132 cases improved and the remaining 18 cases did not respond to the treatment. On average, the patients lost 7.73 pounds in bodyweight. (9)

Combination treatment of acupuncture & herbal medicine

One study treated 35 cases of simple obesity with a combination treatment of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. The herbal treatment called for the use of Huang Qi (Astragalus Root), Ze Xie (Alisma), He Ye (Lotus Leaf), Shan Zha (Crataegus), Sheng Da Huang (Rhubarb), Shou Wu (Fleece-flower Root), Lai Fu Zi (Raphanus (cooked), Bai Jie Zi (White Mustard Seed), and one course of treatment lasted one month. In addition, acupuncture treatment was applied every other day at the following acupoints: Zu San Li (St 36), San Yin Jiao (Sp 6), He Gu (LI 4), Nei Guan (P 6) and Pi Shu (UB 20) and 15 sessions constituted one course of treatment. The results: 34 patient lost some weight (15 patents reduced their bodyweight to within the normal range) and one patient did not respond to the treatment, with an effective rate of 88%. (10)

Acupunture & Acupressure

Acupuncture
One study treated 68 cases of obesity by applying acupunture treatment to Tien Shu (St 25), Zhong Wan (Ren 12), Qi Hai (Ren 6), Tai Yuan (Lu 9) and the otopoint Shen Men (H 7) and those related to the large intestine. The study reported a total effective rate of 94.1%. (11)

Another study treated 26 cases of obesity by applying acupuncture on the following bilateral acupoints: Qu Chi (LI 11), Tian Shu (St 25), Zu San Li (St 36), Yin Ling Quan (Sp 9) and Tai Zhong (Liv 3). The reducing maneuvering method was used and the needles were retained for 30 minutes after insertion. Ten daily sessions constituted one course of treatment. The results: after 4-8 courses of treatment, 5 cases were cured, 11 significantly improved, 6 improved, and 4 cases did not respond to the treatment, with a total effective rate of 84.6%. (12)

Otopuncture
In treating 50 cases of obesity, one study applied otopuncture to Shen Men (H 7) and otopoints related to the following areas: endocrine, spleen, stomach, muscle point, tri-jiao, subcortex, and ovary. The needles were buried in the otopoints and fixed with adhesive plaster. Moreover, 15 minutes before meal, 3-4 otopoints were selected and pressed with fingers about 50 times. The otopoints picked for pressing were alternated between the ears and changed every 2-3 days, and one course of treatment last 16-24 days. The results: 7 cases significantly improved, 35 cases improved, and 8 cases did not respond to the treatment, with a total effective rate of 84%. (13)

Otopoint-plastering and -pressing therapy
In treating 45 cases of obesity, one study applied a plaster made with vaccaria seeds (Semen Vaccariae) to Shen Men (H 7) and otopoints related to the large intestine, constipation point, endocrine and tri-jia. In addition, otopoints related to the sympathetic system, small intestine, spleen, stomach, mouth, esophagus, brain point and adrenal gland received supplemental treatment. A new plaster was used every three days, and one course of treatment lasted one month. The results: 30 cases significantly improved, 10 cases improved, and 5 cases did not respond to the treatment. (14)

Similarly, another study treated 54 cases of obesity by applying a plaster made with vaccaria seeds (Semen Vaccariae) to otopoints related to the mouth, stomach, spleen, tri-jiao, lung, large intestine, endocrine, muscle point and subcortex. In addition, the constipation point and points related to the abdomen and the hip were treated as points directly related to the condition. Each otopoint was pressed for 50-60 times 30 minutes before meal. A new plaster was used every three days, and one course of treatment called for the application of 10 plasters. The results: 6 cases significantly improved, 42 cases improved, and the remaining 6 cases did not respond to the treatment, with a total effective rate of 88%. (15)

Treatment with laser radiation on acupoints
One study followed TCM’s differentiation treatment theory in treating 384 cases of obesity with acupoint laser radiation. Patients with spleen insuffiency and accumulation of dampness due to qi deficiency were treated on Qu Chi (LI 11), Lie Que (Lu 7), Shui Fen (Ren 9), Tian Shu (St 25), Guan Yuan (Ren 4) and San Yin Jiao (Sp 6), supplemented with treatment on otopoint related to the spleen, lung, abdomen, and tri-jiao; patients with yang-ming interior heat and obstruction of dampness were treated on Qu Chi (LI 11), Zhi Gou (SJ 6), Fu Jie (Sp 14), San Yin Jiao (Sp 6) and Nei Guan (P 6), supplement with treatment on otopoints related to the lung, tri-jiao, large intestine, and the lower section of rectum; and patients with dysfunction of Chong, Ren, and Dai Meridians were treated on Qu Chi (LI 11), Guan Yuan (Ren 4), Si Man (K 14), Dai Mai (GB 26) and San Yin Jiao (Sp 6), supplemented with treatment on otopoints related to the kidney, spleen, endocrine, uterus, and the lower section of rectum. The radiation treatment was administered daily, twelve sessions constituted one course of treatment, and the patients were rested for 7-10 days between courses of treatment. The results: after three courses of treatment, 38 cases were cured, 219 cases significantly improved, and the remaining 127 cases improved, with a total effective rate of 100%. (16)

References

  1. Chen Ming Xian, et al. Treating 337 cases of child simple obesity treated. Shanghai Journal of TCM. 1992;(12):16-17.
  2. Jiao Dong Hai, et al. Treating senile simple obesity with Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian. Shanghai Journal of TCM. 1997;(1):18-19.
  3. Chen Xue Ming, et al. 72 cases of child simple obesity treated with Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian. Shanghai Journal of TCM. 1997;(7):4.
  4. Gao Wen Yu, et al. 20 cases of obesity accompanied with menstrual irregularities treated with Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian. Shanghai Journal of TCM. 1993;(12):28-29.
  5. Jiao Dong Hai, et al. Obesity accompanied with high blood viscosity treated with Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian. Shaanxi Journal of TCM. 1997;18(5):4, 3.
  6. Jiao Dong Hai, et al. 42 cases of simple obesity accompanied with hyperlipemia treated with Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian. China Journal of TCM Science and Technology. 1997;4(3):183-184.
  7. Jiao Dong Hai, et al. Treating senile simple obesity with Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian. Shanghai Journal of TCM. 1997;1:18-19.
  8. Zhang Wen Xue. 286 cases of simple obesity treated with Xiao Pang Wan. Bulletin of Correspondence College of TCM. 1999;18(2):21-22.
  9. Luo Xi Cai. 150 cases of simple obesity treated with Jiang Zhi San. Hebei Journal of TCM. 1998;20(1):23.
  10. Wang Jun Yi. Treating simple obesity with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Heilongiang Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology. 1999;3:54.
  11. Gao Hong Sheng. 68 cases of simple obesity treated with acupuncture. Shaanxi Journal of TCM. 2000;21(5):223-224.
  12. Xia Su Fen. Using acupuncture to lose weight. Journal of Acupuncture Clinical Application. 1999;15(10):24-25.
  13. Hu Zhi Lan. Use of otopuncture in 50 weight-loss cases. Journal of Zhejiang College of TCM. 1999;23(5):47-48.
  14. Yuan Zhi Rong. 45 cases of obesity treated with otopoint-plastering and -pressing treatments. Journal of Acupuncture Clinical Application. 1999;15(2):37-38.
  15. Diao Ai Yun. Treating simple obesity with otopoint plastering and pressing. Shandong Journal of TCM. 1999;18(11):522.
  16. Zhang Huan Biao, et al. 384 cases of simple obesity treated with acupoint laser radiation. Jiangsu Journal of TCM. 1998;19(5):37.