Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis’ (ALS) treatment has been sought through means other than the general medication of using herbal medicine or oriental medical treatment.

Oriental Medicine effects & treatment

A series of studies have been conducted and can subsequently be found that there is an effect of the oriental medicine and treatments on ALS. One such study that investigated these effects found that the patients who were treated through the use of herbal medication, acupuncture, bee venom pharmacopuncture and other treatments like these have shown improvements.

These patients who showed improvements after a 30-day trial were between the ages of 51-60 years the subjects and had bulbar-onset and a disease duration of 24-48 months.

About ALS

ALS causes many complications which along with respiratory dysfunction are considered to be amongst the common leading causes of fatalities in the patients with ALS.

A pilot study that studied 18 ALS patients receiving acupuncture treatment twice a day for 5 days observed the effects of acupuncture on the changes in respiratory physiology. The partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the respiratory gases, oxygen saturation in the peripheral blood, the respiration rates and pulse rate assessment and measurements through capnography and oximetry (both 15 minutes before and after treatment) showed that the effects were more positive and pronounced in the patients who had early stages of ALS

Other study cases

There are other studies which also seek to assess the effects of respiratory management of an ALS patient on respiratory failure. One such study tested this effect by observing a patient receiving non-invasive BiPAP ventilator, in addition to, Korean medical treatments like acupuncture, pharmacopuncture and herbal medicine for a long period (i.e. 2 years and 7 months). The result showed that expiratory tidal volume (Vte) and oxygen saturation of the patient was not assessed to have gone worse and were maintained in the duration of the studies and the aforementioned treatments (Lee J. C., 2014). These effects of the Korean or oriental medicament and treatments in either maintaining or improving the major and minor symptoms of ALS has been reviewed in similar studies.

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Chinese herbs for ALS

Other treatments alternative to the mainstream medication is Chinese herbal medications. Herbal therapies for ALS are aimed at regenerating the damaged nerves, vitalizing blood to soften sclerosis, and getting enough blood to the affected muscles.

The research has shown that one of the most active ingredients of ginseng, Ginsenoside Re, has potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and protective effect on nerve cells in symptomatic ALS animal model. It also decreased specific, death-related protein levels in affected cells.

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TreatmentALS animal models and patients have typical features in the form of inflammatory response and glial activation. The traditional Chinese medicine can perform similarly well to Riluzole treatment in the manner that it also reduced the activation of glial cells and suppress the inflammatory response. It should be noted that the mechanism underlying the therapeutic benefits of Chinese herbs are still not properly understood, and that the study mentioned above investigates the effects on the mouse model of ALS.


1. Cai M, Yang EJ. (2016) Ginsenoside Re Attenuates Neuroinflammation in a Symptomatic ALS Animal Model. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 401-13

2. Jiang, J.H. (2011) Anti-inflammatory effects of electroacupuncture in the respiratory system of a symptomatic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis animal model. Neurodegenerative Disorders, 504-14

3. HealthCmi. Acupuncture Found Effective for Progressive Bulbar Palsy Treatment. 19 May 2018

4. Kim, K. M. (2015). A Literature Review of Korean Medical Studies of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The Acupuncture, 133-45

5. Kim, S.-C., Na, W.-M., Lim, N.-R., Lee, D.-S., Jang, E.-H., & Song, B.-K. (2009). A pilot clinical study on the Traditional Korean Medicine treatment of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Journal of Pharmacopuncture, 53-65

6. Lee, J. C. (2014). A Clinical Case Study on the Long-Term Respiration Management of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patient with Respiratory Failure. Case Report. The Acupuncture, 67-73

7. Lee, S. a. (2013). The effects of sa-am acupuncture treatment on respiratory physiology parameters in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients: a pilot study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

8. Qiu, H. J.-h.-b.-q.-l.-q. (2016). Dihuang Yinzi, a Classical Chinese Herbal Prescription, for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A 12-Year Follow-up Case Report. Medicine, 14

9. Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon. Treatment of Amyotropic Lateral Slerosis with Chinese Medicine.

10. Sudhakaran, P. (2017). Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: An Acupuncture Approach. Medical acupuncture, 260–268

11. Yang, Eun Jin et al. ( 2010) Electroacupuncture reduces neuroinflammatory responses in symptomatic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis model. Journal of Neuroimmunology , Volume 223 , Issue 1 , 84 – 91

12. Zhou, Q. a. (2018). Fingerprint analysis of Huolingshengji Formula and its neuroprotective effects in SOD1 G93A mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Scientific reports,

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