Published online May 7, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i17.2718
Revised: January 28, 2013
Accepted: February 28, 2013
Published online: May 7, 2013
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that may become intractable when treated with conventional medications such as aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, and azathioprine. The herbal medicine Qing Dai has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine to treat UC patients, but there is a lack of published data on the efficacy of Qing Dai in UC treatment. We report several cases of patients with intractable UC who take Qing Dai in a retrospective observational study. Furthermore, we explore the mechanisms of action of Qing Dai. Nine patients with active UC who received conventional medications but wished to receive Qing Dai as an alternative medication were included in our analysis. The UC severity level was determined based on the clinical activity index (CAI). Additionally, 5 of the 9 patients were endoscopically evaluated according to the Matts grading system. Each patient received 2 g/d of Qing Dai orally and continued taking other medications for UC as prescribed. Electron spin resonance was applied to explore the mechanisms of action of Qing Dai. After 4 mo of treatment with Qing Dai, the CAI score decreased from 8.3 ± 2.4 to 2.4 ± 3.4 (mean ± SD; P < 0.001). Similarly, the endoscopic Matts grade decreased from 3.4 ± 0.5 to 2.2 ± 0.8 (P = 0.02). Six of 7 patients who were on prednisolone upon enrollment in the study were able to discontinue this corticosteroid. Electron spin resonance revealed that Qing Dai possesses strong hydroxyl radical scavenging activity. Qing Dai showed significant clinical and endoscopic efficacy in patients who failed to respond to conventional medications. Scavenging of hydroxyl radicals appears to be a potential mechanism through which Qing Dai acts, but the significance of the scavenging ability of Qing Dai with respect to the anti-inflammatory effect in UC patients warrants further investigation.
Core tip: Nine intractable ulcerative colitis patients using the herbal medicine Qing Dai were observed in a retrospective observational study. After 4 mo of treatment, clinical activity and endoscopic findings improved dramatically in most patients. Electron spin resonance revealed that Qing Dai has a strong radical scavenging effect.