The School of Chinese Medicine (SCM) of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) recently conducted a clinical observation on Chinese medicine treatment of chronic renal failure (CRF). The results indicates that a particular type of Chinese medicine treatment which nourishes kidney, removes blood stasis and turbidity is effective in improving the clinical symptoms of CRF patients and helps postpone the deterioration of renal function. The overall efficacy rate of such treatment is 72.7%.
CRF is caused by multiple chronic kidney diseases or systemic diseases that affect the kidneys, leading to chronic progressive damage to the kidneys. CRF patients will have decreased renal function, in which the kidneys cannot maintain the metabolism of waste and resulting in disorders of electrolyte and acid-base balance. In addition, the kidneys lose the secretion and regulation of hormonal metabolism and other basic functions, and may lead to azotemia, metabolic disorders and other clinical symptoms due to the damage of different systems. When the glomerular filtration rate of CRF patients is less than 60 ml/min and serum creatinine is higher than the upper limit of normal range, the functional unit of kidney has been damaged more than 50%, suggesting that there is the presence of kidney damage.
Mr Cai Xunyuan, a visiting scholar of the SCM Clinical Division at HKBU, conducted a clinical observation of 33 patients attending HKBU's Chinese medicine clinics for treatment of CRF from March 2013 to August 2017. The study aimed to find the impact of this particular Chinese medicine treatment on the patients' serum creatinine, glomerular filtration rate and their clinical symptoms before and after the treatment.
Of the 33 patients, 19 were male and 14 were female with ages ranging from 18 to 70. All the patients were in the CRF diagnosis stage of three to four with serum creatinine less than 707umol/l. The observation indicated that the overall efficacy rate of the treatment for CRF was 72.7%, with seven patients showing obvious improvement, 17 having general improvement while nine showed no improvement. A better therapeutic effect was observed in patients who were in the diagnosis stage of 3a (serum creatinine <200umol/l). During the observation, 16 out of 20 patients in this group recorded a decrease in their serum creatinine with an efficacy rate of 80%, and five of them had an upturn from stage 3a to 2, meaning that renal function was recovering from a decompensatory stage to a compensatory stage.
This particular treatment is a prescription of Chinese herbs such as Herba Epimedii, Isaria Cicadae, Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae, Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong, and Radix et Rhizoma Rhei. They work well in supplementing yang and warming the kidney, protecting the patients' kidneys and liver, promoting regeneration of blood, and removing blood stasis, turbidity and detoxification.
Mr Cai explained that the Chinese medicine treatment, with the application of specific kinds of Chinese herbs to tonify kidney and remove blood stasis and turbidity, coheres with the traditional Chinese medicine principle of combining enhancement of physical fitness, eliminating pathogenic factors and tackling both the principal and subordinate symptoms. Through invigorating the spleen and kidneys, such treatment helps to lower a patient's serum creatinine and urea, eliminate the factors promoting the progression of CRF, prevent further damage of the body from the toxins, increase the glomerular filtration rate, stabilise kidney function and reduce the urine protein and red blood cells. As a result, the patient's daily life quality is enhanced by having a better appetite and healthier body with an improvement in clinical symptoms. This also helps to delay the progression of CRF and the time for patient undergo dialysis.
Mr Cai said that chronic glomerulonephritis was the primary cause of CRF, with 13 cases. He therefore reminded people to have regular urine tests, especially after recovery from a cold, fever, tonsillitis and boils. If the urine appears with protein or red blood cells, patients should seek Chinese medicine treatment as early as possible to avoid progression of disease and damage of kidneys. For patients already with renal dysfunction, they should urge to seek professional diagnosis and treatment from registered Chinese medicine practitioners. The treatment of early CRF with traditional Chinese medicine has an irreplaceable advantage. Once the condition changes into renal failure and even stage of uremia, the vast majority of patient's kidney units have been damaged, and it is more difficult to reverse.